Man convicted for groping teen on flight from Dubai to Seattle

A 39-year-old man from India was convicted Monday for groping a teenage girl on a flight from Dubai to Seattle back in February.

The U.S. District Court in Seattle announced that Abhinav Kumar was convicted of abusive sexual contact, punishable by up to two years in prison.

Kumar was among a spate of sexual assaults on flights to Seattle in the past year, the U.S. Attorney's Office observed in March.

"The Western District of Washington continues to see an alarming increase in sexual abuse cases aboard aircraft," said U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman wrote at the time. "Last August we emphasized that we have zero tolerance for such assaults. Sadly, we continue to learn of new allegations and are investigating and charging those cases."

According to court records and testimony, Kumar was seated next to the 17-year-old victim on an Emirates flight from Dubai to Seattle. The victim's family members were seated in front of her and across the aisle from her.

Kumar asked the girl to meet him for coffee, and she declined. Later, while she was trying to sleep under a blanket, Kumar moved the blanket over himself and started groping the girl's breast.

The victim froze in fear, but then got up and asked her mother for help. They alerted the Emirates crew, who called law enforcement to meet them as the plane landed.

"Nobody expects for a person to grope them on a flight," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanaa Nagi, "The defendant did not expect the victim to be brave enough to report him."

Kumar is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 1, 2024.


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