Man convicted of sexually abusing sleeping passenger on Spirit Airlines flight
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A man convicted of sexually assaulting a sleeping woman on a Spirit Airlines flight faces up to life in prison.

A federal jury convicted Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 35, of sexual abuse following a Spirit Airlines flight in January from Las Vegas to Detroit, The Washington Post reported.

A 22-year-old woman told police that she had fallen asleep against the window when she woke up to find that the man seated next to her in the middle seat had his hand down her unbuttoned pants and that her shirt was undone.


The woman then had to push past Ramamoorthy and his wife, who was seated in the aisle seat, to notify flight attendants at the back of the plane.

A jury deliberated for less than four hours before returning their guilty verdict, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement.

He was in the country on a work visa, The Post reported, and will be deported after serving his sentence.

Ramamoorthy originally told police that he was in a “deep sleep” after taking a pill. He also said his wife had told him that the unnamed woman in the window seat was sleeping on his knees.

Ramamoorthy and his wife both acknowledged that the pill was just regular Tylenol, according to prosecutors. Both Ramamoorthy and his wife reportedly gave conflicting accounts.

When he was later interviewed by the FBI — which investigates crimes on aircrafts — he admitted that he "might have" unhooked the woman's bra, and then unzipped her pants, according to complaint.

He said he unsuccessfully attempted to put his fingers inside the sleeping woman, however, evidence presented in court showed that he did in fact penetrate her, Schneider said.

Neither Ramamoorthy or his attorney could not be reached by The Post for comment.

The Hill has reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment.

The Post reported that there 63 reports made to the FBI of sexual assault on flights last year.

That number is up from 38 reported in 2014.

Schneider praised the woman for being brave enough to report her assault.

"Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes. We will not tolerate the behavior of anyone who takes advantage of victims who are in a vulnerable position, and we are glad the jury agreed," Schneider said.