CRIME BLOTTER

39-year-old man convicted of groping teen on flight from Dubai to Seattle

May 14, 2024, 2:21 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm

Photo: A Seattle federal court jury has convicted a 39-year-old citizen of India for groping a mino...

A Seattle federal court jury has convicted a 39-year-old citizen of India for groping a minor on a flight. (File photo: Don Ryan, AP)

(File photo: Don Ryan, AP)

A Seattle federal court jury has convicted a 39-year-old citizen of India for abusive sexual contact with a minor on an Emirates flight from Dubai to Seattle. The conviction on Monday followed a three-day trial and four-hour jury deliberation.

Abhinav Kumar was taken into custody at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on February 18, 2024. The court heard how Kumar, seated beside the window with an empty seat separating him from the victim, struck up a conversation with the 17-year-old girl and invited her for coffee, to which she said “no.”

Another incident: Woman sues Delta Air Lines after sexually assaulted on flight by employee

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the girl later fell asleep under a blanket. That’s when prosecutors said Kumar extended his blanket over the empty middle seat. Prosecutors showed the jury onboard video surveillance, which they said captured the movement of Kumar’s arm under the blanket towards the victim.

Prosecutors said the girl awoke to find Kumar’s hand under her blanket, which then moved up her arm, inside her shirt, and groped her breast. Initially shocked, the victim quickly informed her mother and they both went to the restroom.

The Emirates crew was promptly notified and arranged for law enforcement to meet the aircraft upon arrival. After interviewing the victim, her family, and Kumar, Port of Seattle Police arrested him. The case was then handed to the FBI, which led to a grand jury indictment.

Similar news: Washington man pleads guilty to groping woman on San Diego to Seattle flight

“Nobody expects for a person to grope them on a flight,” Nagi told the jury. “The defendant did not expect the victim to be brave enough to report him.”

According to the Department of Justice, Kumar could face up to two years in prison. He is set to be sentenced on August 1, 2024.

Charlie Harger is the News Director for MyNorthwest.com and KIRO Newsradio.

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39-year-old man convicted of groping teen on flight from Dubai to Seattle