united airlines sexual harassment

What would you do if an adult man was masturbating next to an underage girl? Is the answer anywhere along the lines of “don’t stop him and continue about my duties”? If so, you should work for United Airlines! According to a former passenger, the staff on a flight of United’s did nothing when a male passenger sexually harassed and exposed himself to a 17-year-old girl.

The lawsuit filed by Monica Amestoy, now 18, against United Airlines and United Continental Holdings in Superior Court alleges negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. Amestoy says the man spent “long periods” of a six-hour flight “masturbating and exposing his penis” to her from across a small aisle. Color us horrified.

Her complaint states:

“After the plane took off, the plaintiff saw to her horror that the male passenger directly across the aisle from her had exposed his penis and was masturbating. That passenger had stationed his airline blanket in a way that concealed his activities from other passengers on one side of him. His conduct was very visible to the plaintiff, however.”

 

What’s worse? The airline did nothing, even after Amestoy reported the man’s behavior to a flight attendent — you know, those people who are employed and designated to help you when something like this happens? The man stopped his “offensive behavior” briefly when Amestoy complained, but the attendent didn’t do anything about it. Soon after, the attendant “decided to attend to other duties. When she did so, the perpetrator exposed his penis and started to masturbate again,” states the complaint.

“Later during the flight, the plaintiff got up to use the restroom. On the way to the restroom, the plaintiff passed by the same flight attendant to whom she had complained, and the flight attendant asked if the perpetrator was still exposing himself. The plaintiff said that he was. The flight attendant then stated that the perpetrator’s conduct was ‘disgusting,’ but took no other action. In particular, the flight attendant and/or crew took no action to relocate the plaintiff, to prevent the perpetrator from exposing himself or masturbating, or to report the offensive conduct to the flight deck,” the complaint states.
Amestoy adds: “She feared, among other things, that the perpetrator might ejaculate, and cause her to come into offensive contact with his sperm. United’s conduct toward the plaintiff was outrageous, and went beyond the scope of normal aircraft operations.”

So, uh, it disgusted the flight staff, it was clearly illegal, and they allegedly did nothing. And while a victim’s age shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not people help her, wasn’t it extremely alarming to the crew that this girl was underage and having this happen to her?

United never contacted the police, as they should have, so Amestoy is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as a result of the incident. And hopefully, this awful incident and subsequent (necessary) lawsuit will warn other airlines and travel companies to seriously reconsider looking the other way when it comes to revolting harassment like this.

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