A female passenger was molested while she took a brief nap on a flight from London to San Francisco, a fellow male passenger placed his hand down the woman’s shirt and groped her breast for approximately five minutes. The female passenger molested did not realize it until she randomly woke up minutes later.
The victim was aboard British Airways Flight 285 last Tuesday when she was assaulted by Vinay Pochampally, according to a U.S.
District Court criminal complaint. Sources say that the molestation occurred about two hours into the flight. The female passenger was seated in row 37. During the flight, Pochampally, who was assigned a seat in row 36 of the Boeing 747, “positioned himself in the gap behind row 37 and in front of the bulkhead,” reported FBI Agent Bianca Betz in a sworn affidavit.
“While in that gap, Pochampally inserted his hand, palm-side down, into the shirt of the sleeping female passenger,” noted Betz. Pochampally’s hand was “underneath the passenger’s shirt and undergarments for approximately four to five minutes, making skin-to-skin contact in the breast and upper chest area,” added Betz.
When the victim woke up from her nap, Pochampally, who was intoxicated, quickly removed his hand from the victims shirt and ran away down the aisle. According to the criminal complaint, “multiple passengers witnessed the incident” and told the flight crew what had occurred. British Airways workers confronted Pochampally upon learning of the molestation incident and directed him to move to a different seat for the remainder of the 10-hour trip.
Pochampally was charged with simple assault in a misdemeanor complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court.