Friday, August 10, 2018

Alleged Offender Walks Free After Accused of Criminal Sexual Abuse On-Board Inbound Flight to Midway Airport

Midway Airport - Chicago, IL

Chicago-One News has learned of a Criminal Sexual Abuse case that occurred on a flight to Chicago Midway Airport just days ago.

The Chicago Police told Chicago-One via e-mail that on August 2, 2018 at approximately 10:30 am a criminal sexual abuse case report was generated by a 29-year-old female under RD# JB-375768.  The female victim stated to police that she awoke mid -flight on an inbound plane to a 23-year-old male offender touching her arm and breasts. No arrest made as victim declined to sign complaints. The victim also declined EMS and was advised of warrant procedures.

Because Chicago Police did not give any airline or flight information, on August 10th, 2018, Chicago-One News spoke with the two biggest carriers at Midway, Southwest and Delta. Chicago-One also spoke with the FAA on the same date.  Both airlines and the FAA said in e-mails to Chicago-One News that they have no reports on file regarding incidents on August 2nd, 2018. Chicago-One attempted contact with Porter and Volaris, but could not reach anyone.

According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, in an April 2018 piece on the agency's website, "Sexual assault aboard aircraft—which usually takes the form of unwanted touching—is a felony that can land offenders in prison. Typically, men are the perpetrators, and women and unaccompanied minors are the victims."

In that same April 2018 piece, FBI Special Agent David Gates, who is based at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and regularly investigates these cases, said,  “We are seeing more reports of in-flight sexual assault than ever before,”

The FBI has airline travel safety precautions that airline passengers can take.

Among suggested precautions:

Trust your gut. Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes pretending to brush against them to see how they react or if they wake up. “Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt,” Gates said. If such behavior occurs, reprimand the person immediately, and consider asking to be moved to another seat.

Recognize that mixing alcohol with sleeping pills or other medication on an overnight flight increases your risk. “Don’t knock yourself out with alcohol or drugs,” Gates said.

If your seatmate is a stranger, no matter how polite he or she may seem, keep the armrest between you down.

If you are arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied, try to reserve an aisle seat so flight attendants can keep a closer watch on them. Highley has seen victims as young as 8 years old.

If an incident happens, report it immediately to the flight crew and ask that they record the attacker’s identity and report the incident. “Flight attendants and captains represent authority on the plane,” Gates said. “We don’t want them to be police officers, but they can alert law enforcement, and they can sometimes deal with the problem in the air.” The flight crew can also put the offender on notice, which might prevent further problems.

Chicago-One contacted the Chicago Department of Aviation for information and comment, and the department said they don't have information on anything that occurs aboard aircraft, even on the ground at Chicago airports, and said only individual airlines would have information or ability to comment.

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