Friday, April 28, 2017

Woman may file suit against Delta Air Lines after masturbation, groping incident

“The defendant then admitted that he likes to sit with his hands in his pants and massage his penis, and called this 'his happy place.'” - Federal Prosecutor's Memo 

After catching a man openly masturbating on a flight to Detroit last summer, the crew left him unattended and able to assault a female passenger, her attorney said Thursday.

The woman, a waitress from Garden City, is considering a lawsuit against Delta Air Lines, attorney Gerald Acker said.

She was in a window seat on a flight July 27, 2016, from Myrtle Beach, S.C., after her daughter's cheerleading contest, when a man sat next to her, touched her thigh and — despite her pleas that he stop — put parts of his hand under her shorts, according to the federal prosecutor's sentencing memo in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Christopher Finkley, 41, was sentenced last month to a week of imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of "simple assault, inappropriate touching," according to the sentencing judgment. He'd been in first class and, within 40 minutes of takeoff, a flight attendant saw him masturbating with his genitals exposed, according to the prosecutor's memo.

Acker said the pilot called to police at the destination, but Finkley wasn't confined to his seat, guarded or watched by the flight attendants.

"Rather than telling anybody, they allow this predator to" move to the back of the airplane and assault a passenger, Acker said.

"It's our understanding they didn't have any policies to deal with any incidents like this," Acker said of Delta Air Lines. "That's what their representation has been, which is hard to believe."

The prosecutor's memo indicates Finkley had gone to the back of the plane to use the restroom, as the first class one was out of order. On his way back from the restroom, he sat down in the empty seat and began assaulting the woman.

She told him to stop multiple times before he put part of his hand under her "shorts and continued to touch her," according to the memo.

As the flight was about to land, Finkley returned to his seat and was seen again rubbing his exposed penis, according to the memo. When the flight landed, Finkley was arrested and interviewed by the FBI.

"The defendant then admitted that he likes to sit with his hands in his pants and massage his penis, and called this 'his happy place,'" according to the memo.

He said he had thought he was covered with a blanket but guessed he wasn't covered well enough. He admitted touching the woman on the outside of her knee and making a "caressing motion," the memo reports.

Investigators said she was too distraught to give a statement immediately after the incident, that she was "visibly upset and crying," according to the memo. "The victim later explained that she was especially distraught because her 14-year-old daughter was supposed to sit in the seat that she occupied, but she had switched with her prior to the flight taking off."

Acker said Delta offered 2,500 airline miles to the woman about 10 weeks after the incident. He said he has been approached by Delta's lawyers, but he's not sure where negotiations are.

"My guess is that in the next few weeks, we'll be filing a lawsuit," he said.

Acker said they're seeking "enough to make sure that when predators are on airplanes that they remember who they are, and that they don't allow them to roam through an airplane."

Delta Air Lines declined a Free Press request for comment. A man fitting Finkley's description didn't immediately respond to a Facebook message requesting comment.

Original article can be found here:

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