Michael Pascal faces the prospect of 5 years behind bars after been found guilty of groping a 14 year old girl during a flight from Detroit to Salt Lake City on October 26, 2013.
The 45 year old man, who at the time was an off duty airline pilot upon boarding the flight came to be found guilty Thursday after a three day trial after being indicted on two counts of abusive sexual contact.
During testimony the court heard how Michael Pascal had grabbed a teen’s buttocks he was sitting next to during the flight before dashing off to the bathroom.
At the time the teen was sitting next to a window whilst Pascal sat next to her in a middle seat.
Michael Pascal who worked at the time for a regional airline carrier that contracts with Delta, told investigators he fell asleep with his hands in his lap and ‘didn’t know how he ended up underneath the girl.’
Pascal’s attorney, Rhome Zabriskie said his client was shocked over charges, and that he has a teenage daughter of his own. The lawyer insisted any touching that occurred was inadvertent.
The teen told authorities she elbowed Pascal after waking up with his hand underneath her and asked, ‘What the hell are you doing?’
She says he pulled his hand out from under her and said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I was asleep, I have to use the bathroom.’
The armrest that she had pushed down was in the upright position, she recalled.
Pascal said he pulled up the armrest between him and the girl because the man on the other side of him was taking up a lot of room, according to documents.
Despite the man’s pleas, neither cops nor the jury came to believe him.
Instead the jury only took a few hours to find him guilty.
The girl, who was flying alone, told flight attendants what happened and was so shaken she changed seats. She maintained Pascal was ‘clearly awake’ and put some of his body on her.
The disgraced pilot is scheduled to be sentenced July 29 and could face up to five years in prison.
above image found here