Newark, NJ – An Indian national was sentenced to 90 days in prison for touching inappropriately a sleeping young girl passenger on a domestic flight from Seattle, Washington to Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey), US Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Vijaykumar Krishnappa, 29, a physician, was flying from Seattle on July 23 when he allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old girl sitting next to him. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2017, before US Magistrate Judge James B. Clark in Newark federal court to a superseding information charging him with assault in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, while on a United Airlines flight from Seattle to Newark on July 23, 2017, “Krishnappa intentionally assaulted a girl who was unknown to him and seated next to him on the flight. Krishnappa admitted that while the victim was asleep, he intentionally touched her near her groin over her leggings without her consent.”
Krishnappa, sitting next to her quickly removed his hand, according to a federal court complaint, and the teenager went back to sleep. Then, she woke up again – and this time, the man was groping her, the complaint said.
She reported the incident to the airline crew and was allowed to move seats. Once the flight from Seattle landed at Newark Liberty International Airport, the girl, from Washington state, called her parents. While she contacted her parents, the accused left the airport, said Johnny McCray, an attorney for the girl’s family.
The girl’s family filed a complaint against United Airlines for neglecting to detain Krishnappa after the alleged assault, the report said. The FBI was called to handle the investigation. It used the flight manifest to track down Krishnappa. The girl identified him from a photo array.
US Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. The government was represented by Assistant US Attorney Tazneen Shahabuddin of the US Attorney’s Criminal Division in Newark.