- A woman filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, claiming that it over-served a “visibly drunk” man who later sexually assaulted her.
- Aubrey Lane claimed in the lawsuit that the man sitting next to her harassed her, and then followed her to the bathroom and sexually assaulted her.
- Lane said that the airline “failed in its duty to protect her and other passengers” by allowing the drunk man to board and serving him alcohol.
- American Airlines previously called her suit was a “nuisance claim,” but later apologised.
- The airline said it was “deeply troubled” by the allegation and said it introduced new procedures for following up on reports of sexual assault.
A woman who said she was sexually assaulted on an American Airlines flight has claimed in a lawsuit that the airline is partly responsible, because it served the attacker more alcohol even though he was already “visibly drunk
The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday by Colorado resident Aubrey Lane, said the airline “failed in its duty to protect her and other passengers” by allowing the drunk man to board the plane and serving him up to six more alcohol drinks, as cited by The Dallas Morning News.
The alleged incident took place on a redeye flight from Phoenix to New York in June 2017, the Dallas newspaper said.
The unnamed man was seated next to Lane and harassed her throughout the flight, Lane and another passenger seated nearby said in the lawsuit, as cited by The Dallas Morning News. It’s not clear if the man physically or verbally harassed Lane.
At one point during the flight, the man followed Lane to the bathroom and sexually assaulted her, the lawsuit said.
Airport police met with Lane after the flight, the lawsuit said, but the man was not apprehended at that time.
The case was handed to the FBI, who said that no arrests have been made, but declined to comment further to The Dallas Morning News.
An American Airlines spokeswoman told The Dallas Morning News that the company had not yet received the lawsuit, but would review the complaint when it does.
“We are deeply troubled by any allegation of misconduct onboard our aircraft or at any of our facilities,” she told the newspaper.
American Airlines previously called Lane’s allegations a “nuisance claim,” and offered her $US5,000 as a settlement, The Dallas Morning reported. It’s not clear when this took place.
The airline has since apologised. It also told The Dallas Morning News that it introduced new processes for following up on reports of incidents on its flights, including sexual misconduct.
“If our crews discover or are told about any alleged illegal misconduct that may occur on the aircraft, law enforcement is contacted and will meet the aircraft upon arrival,” the American Airlines spokeswoman told The Dallas Morning News. “It is up to law enforcement to determine what, if any criminal activity, took place.”
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