11 -Year- Old Girl Allegedly Molested On Delta flight... Family Suing Airline

  1. Girl allegedly molested on Delta flight
    Family of 11-year-old suing airline

    By D L Bennet
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 10/11/07

    An 11-year-old Alabama girl flying alone from San Diego to Atlanta says a man slipped into the empty seat beside her and sexually molested her on a crowded Delta jet.
    The disturbing charges were made public in a lawsuit filed last week in Fulton County State Court could make parents think twice before placing any unescorted child on a bus, plane or train. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

    Delta, with more than 1,000 flights a day leaving Atlanta alone, estimates it carries thousands of unescorted young fliers a year.
    Savannah lawyer Mark Tate, who is representing the family, said the girl, whose name was withheld in the lawsuit, was traumatized by the incident.
    Although the girl reported the incident to her mother when she got off the plane, Tate said no criminal charges have been filed and no suspect identified. The mother took the report to Huntsville police, Atlanta police and eventually the FBI.
    "Delta has a very high burden to meet in protecting passengers," said Tate. "We feel Delta didn't meet that. This little girl is not doing well. It's caused severe problems."
    Airline officials refused to directly address the charges in the lawsuit.
    Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said the airline tries to properly serve all passengers.
    "Along with making sure passengers are comfortable and arrive at their final destination, our flight crews work to ensure their safety and security, which includes the thousands of unaccompanied minors who travel with us every year," said Elliott.
    She said Delta has special rules for keeping a close watch on children flying alone, including personally receiving minors from a parent or guardian, taking them to their assigned seat and escorting minors to the person specified to meet them at the destination point. There's also a small surcharge for the service.
    The incident alleged in the lawsuit occurred on Jan. 6 when the girl was on a return trip from San Diego where she was visiting her father, a Marine who was on leave. Her mother, a 31-year-old property manager from Huntsville, was set to meet the plane in Atlanta.
    "Seated next to her was a child molester who switched seats so that neither were in their assigned seats," the suit reads. "During the flight the passenger ... began to rub her face. The passenger ... told (the girl) his penis was itching and began rubbing his penis while rubbing her face."
    Such incidents, while apparently rare, have been reported on other planes.
    Northwest Airlines paid more than $500,000 to a girl who claimed she was repeatedly sexually molested by a man seated next to her on a flight from Kansas City, Mo., to Detroit Metropolitan Airport in 2001.
    The girl, who was 10, identified the passenger, who denied the charges.
    Often such cases involve female passengers, who say they were touched inappropriately, typically while sleeping.
    In March, an off-duty Northwest Airlines employee was accused of sexual assault after a woman said that he sat next to her on an overnight flight, lifted up her shirt and touched himself.
    Two years ago, a business executive was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually assaulting a sleeping woman seated next to him on a Delta Air Lines flight from Dallas to Boston.
    Tate said the girl involved in the Atlanta case has been undergoing therapy since the incident and dreams of the man who sat next to her on the plane.
    "We have a young girl in therapy and a guy who's not been called to task for it," Tate said. "That's disturbing."

  2. Do you think its safe for kids to travel by themselves ?

    Ive always thought it was until now !
  3. I have never thought it was safe. No way I would let my 12 year old fly alone. There are too many perverted freaks out there. I don't think convicted rapists and child molesters have any right to be on a plane at all. If they do fly, they should be known to the rest of the passenger as having been convicted. As far as I am concerned these people have NO rights. If covicted of these crimes, you should be in a position where your life looks so grim due to loss of your job and limited opportunity to travel, own a home, etc- that all you want to do is kill yourself. I'll hand you the gun.
  4. I would have never let my child fly alone!! What a mistake.....
  5. I am sorry for her and her family, but rule #1...never leave your child alone!

    The responsibility to keep this young girl safe is on her mother and her father. Shame on them.
  6. I am always amazed when I hear about people letting their children fly by themselves. A child is at risk from predators anywhere, and even more vulnerable when the child is alone. I still believe that sexual predators should have to be tattooed on their forhead with a big scarlet P so all can be warned. Obviously the system is not working as it is. Repeat offenders are rampant. I think I read statistically when a predator is caught he has offended dozens of times prior to being charged.
  7. I never did, I've always though it is very dangerous for kids to fly alone, for way to many reasons IMO. Poor little girl, I cannot imagine how she must be feeling right now, I am happy she did say something you know, many kids dont ever say a word.

    Last night, one of my coworkes call me telling me one of the new cashiers (she is 16) "got molested" by this homeless guy that came into the restaurant.. I wish I was there to kick his ass. I hate this kinda situations. :cursing:

    I dont know about suing the airlines, I mean those guys are everywhere you have to be careful and protect your child. Besides, they dont do a background check of every passenger, do they :confused1:.
  8. Well I flew alone when I was about 10 and my sister was 12. My parents walked us in to the gate, we got on the plane, and my grandparents were waiting at the other end. But probably in the past 20 years things have gotten much much worse. I am not sure I would do it now... especially when hearing stories like this.
  9. This is horrible and makes me angry. Where were the flight attendants? Shouldn't if a child is flying alone have one check on them constantly??? I mean the parents put their child in the care of Delta. I do think they are responsible for this for not watching the child. ESPECIALLY when some stranger is sitting next to the child when they weren't assigned the seat to begin with!
  10. No, I don't think it's safe. I'd never do it. Too many unknowns.
  11. :mad: Why hasn't this criminal been charged?

    I thought it was OK for kids to fly alone, too.
  12. Aren't flight attendants informed of unaccompanied minors on board?
  13. ^ They're supposed to be, no? At least I thought so too

    I know I wonder the same thing :cursing: The parents are probably just sueing Delta cause that way they'll be able to get more money ... :s I don't see why they wouldn't file criminal charges against the man. If it were me, I would DEFINITELY want to see the a*hole go down....

    And seriously, kids under 16 shouldn't take LONG flights by themselves... at least parents should make sure the airline company is advised and that perhaps flight attendants should take care of them.

    I remember taking flights by myself when I was 16 to go to Spain. My parents were kind of worried but at the same time they knew I was mature enough to handle it... and I told them I would be okay. The flights went well, but it was the wait in between... I was stuck in Heathrow for 7 hours! Without a cell phone! I felt quite stranded :push:

    so really, I think it's the transfers that are more "dangerous" for kids traveling alone. But I swear nowadays if I had children, I wouldn't let them fly by themselves... :nogood:
  14. I would never have let my kids fly alone!
  15. i wouldn't think it's safe for young children to travel alone. i've travelled on the plane alone when i was 12, but the stewardess was very attentive and made sure i was ok.
    when i was 15, my parents sent me to boarding school in uk and i've always travelled from london back to asia every school holiday on my own. i'm very glad that nothing has happened, but i don't think i really want my children to travel alone. young children shouldn't travel without their parents/guardian and older children (16+) should travel with friends.