Prabhu Ramamoorthy, an Indian techie from Tamil Nadu, was accused of abusing a 22-year-old woman seated by the window next to him whereas his wife was on his other side on a Spirit Airlines from Las Vegas last January. The victim said he unzipped her pants, unbuttoned her shirt and molested her with his hands.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of nearly 11 years, but US District Judge Terrence Berg settled on a 9 year term. He said he hoped it would be grave enough to deter others from committing the similar crimes.
The victim declined the opportunity to speak in court. She watched the hearing from the first row with her boyfriend and a support dog.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy, who came to the US on a H-1B visa in 2015, will be deported back to India after he serves his sentence. He will never be allowed back into the US.
US Attorney Matthew Schneider said, “Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on flights. We will not tolerate the behaviour of anyone, who takes advantage of the victims who are in a vulnerable position. We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out.”
Prabhu Ramamoorthy has lived in suburban Detroit since arriving in the U.S. on a work visa in 2015. He and his wife were returning to Detroit on the Las Vegas flight after a trip to the Grand Canyon.
In recent years, number of Indian nationals have been charged with sexual assaults inside an airplane. The FBI says the airplane sexual assault is a serious offence that is on the rise.