A man from India is accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman Wednesday while she slept against a window on a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit, according to federal court filings.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit after the Spirit Airlines flight arrived at Metro Airport. He faces a charge of aggravated sexual abuse.
The woman reported she fell asleep and woke up "to a hand in her pants and noticed that her pants and shirt were unbuttoned," according to the federal complaint. She reported that the man was shoving his "fingers in her (genitals) and vigorously moving them. When she fully woke up, the man stopped," the complaint reports.
The woman immediately reported the allegations to flight attendants, who said she "appeared visibly upset and was crying," according to the complaint. Ramamoorthy was arrested and later told an FBI agent that he "'might have' undone (the woman's) bra while playing with it, and that he had cupped her (clothed) breast. He also indicated that he unzipped her pants part-way, and did put his finger into her pants. He stated that he tried to put his finger in her vagina but was not successful," according to the complaint.
Ramamoorthy, before speaking with the agent, gave a written statement that he was in "deep sleep," that the woman fell asleep on his knees and that he is "not sure where (he) kept the hand on her."
Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen ordered Ramamoorthy jailed ahead of a detention hearing at 1 p.m. today.
Since he is not a U.S. citizen, Ramamoorthy could request for the government to notify his home country to help him with legal representation and to contact family, attorney Amanda Jawad of the U.S. Attorney's Office said in court Wednesday. Jill Leslie Price of the Federal Defender Office, who appeared with Ramamoorthy, said he was willing to have his home country notified of the charge.
Also during Wednesday's hearing, Price asked for Whalen to allow Ramamoorthy to read the complaint while he was still in the courtroom.
"It's something I don't want to send with him, because it might endanger him in the jail," she said.
Price didn't immediately respond to a Free Press request for comment.
Contact Robert Allen on Twitter @rallenMI or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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