Prabhu Ramamoorthy sentenced: An Indian national on a US work visa gets 9 years jail after sexually assaulting female passenger on Spirit Airlines flight.
An Indian man living in the US on a work visa was on Thursday sentenced to nine years jail after sexually assaulting a sleeping woman during a 2017 overnight flight to Detroit.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy was in a middle seat between the victim and his wife on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas last January. The 23-year-old victim said he unzipped her pants, unbuttoned her shirt and molested her with his hands.
Prosecutors had sought sentencing of nearly 11 years for the US based tech worker, but US District Judge Terrence Berg settled on a nine-year term. He said he hoped it would be ‘grave enough’ to deter others from committing similar crimes.
The Detroit Free Press reported prosecutors calling the incident ‘one of the most brazen airplane sexual assaults ever prosecuted in the district.’
Thursday’s sentencing follows a jury convicting Ramamoorthy in August. The jury deliberated approximately 3 1/2 hours before returning the guilty verdict.
The former IT tech executive will be deported to India after serving his sentence.
The victim, a model, declined an opportunity to speak in court. She watched the hearing from the first row with her boyfriend and a support dog.
At trial, she testified that she woke up during the flight and ‘saw his hands inside me.’ She said she felt ‘petrified, frozen.’
‘Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes. … We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out,’ US Attorney Matthew Schneider said.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy sentenced: Breaks down crying after sentencing.
Ramamoorthy, 35, has lived in suburban Detroit since arriving in the US on a work visa in 2015. At the time of the assault, the former IT project manager at a Detroit area technology company and his wife were returning to Detroit on the Las Vegas flight after a trip to the Grand Canyon.
Speaking through a Tamil interpreter, Ramamoorthy said he didn’t want to make a statement before getting his sentence. The judge noted a lack of remorse but acknowledged that Ramamoorthy had a right to stay silent.
Following his sentence being delivered, npr reported the disgraced tech executive crying as he was led out of the courtroom in shackles.
Defense attorney James Amberg asked for a prison sentence of less than 10 years. He said the conviction will bring ‘severe and lifelong consequences’ to Ramamoorthy and his wife when they return to southern India.
‘His life is effectively over,’ Amberg told Berg.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy sentenced: Did his wife know and was she simply trying to cover up for her husband?
Responding to the fact that Ramamoorthy’s wife had been siting next to her husband at the time of the assault, federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad told the Washington Post:
‘It seems that she’s either colluding with the defendant to cover up his actions or she’s completely oblivious to what he did,’
Adding, ‘What makes this offense particularly egregious and the defendant even more of a danger to the community is the fact that it took place on an airplane. He was brazen enough to do this basically in public, next to his wife where anyone could have seen him.’
To date it remains unclear why the male passenger sexually assaulted his young victim and what may have informed the Indian national his purported actions were permissible….