A court in the United States on Thursday sentenced an Indian man to nine years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman inside a flight earlier this year, PTI reported. The woman was sleeping at the time of the assault.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 35, who came to the US on an H-1B visa in 2015, will be deported after he serves his sentence. He was convicted in August after a five-day trial. The jury had deliberated for close to three-and-a-half hours before pronouncing him guilty.
While federal prosecutors sought 11 years of jail term, District Judge Terrence Berge in Detroit said he hoped the sentence would be serious enough to deter others from committing similar crimes.
Assistant attorney Amanda Awad told the judge that those accused of similar crimes usually express some sort of remorse at sentencing, but Ramamoorthy showed none, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Prosecutors said Ramamoorthy assaulted the 22-year-old woman on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit in January. The complainant said that when she woke up, she discovered Ramamoorthy sexually assaulting her.
Ramamoorthy had initially claimed that he was in “deep sleep” and had not committed sexual assault. But he later told Federal Bureau of Investigation officials that he “might have” undone the woman’s bra and cupped her breast.
“Everyone has the right to be secure and safe when they travel on airplanes,” attorney Matthew Schneider said after the sentencing. “We will not tolerate the behaviour of anyone who takes advantage of victims who are in a vulnerable position. We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out.”