DETROIT – An Indian man in the U.S. on a work visa, was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting a sleeping woman during a night flight to Detroit.
Prabhu Ramamoorthy was in the middle seat sitting next to the victim, while his wife was in an aisle seat on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas last January. The 23-year-old victim said that he unzipped her pants, unbuttoned her shirt and abused her with his hands.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of nearly 11 years, but the U. S. District Judge Terrence Berg settled on a nine-year period. He said that he hoped that it would be “serious enough” to make others deter you from committing similar crimes.
A jury convicted Ramamoorthy in August . He will be deported to India after serving his sentence.
The victim, a model, declined the chance to speak in the courtroom. She looked at the hear of the first row with her boyfriend and a dog.
During the trial, she testified that she woke up during the flight and “saw his hands in me.” She said she felt “petrified, frozen.”
“Everyone has the right to a safe and secure when they travel in aircraft. … We appreciate the victim in this case for her courage to speak out,” the AMERICAN Lawyer Matthew Schneider said.
Ramamoorthy, 35, lives in a suburb of Detroit since his arrival in the U.S. on a work visa in 2015. He and his wife return to Detroit on the Las Vegas flight after a trip to the Grand Canyon.
Speaking through a Tamil interpreter, Ramamoorthy said that he didn’t want to make a statement before getting his sentence. The judge noted a lack of remorse, but acknowledged Ramamoorthy had the right to remain silent.
Attorney James Amberg requested to a term of imprisonment of less than 10 years. He said that the conviction will bring “serious and lifelong consequences” to Ramamoorthy and his wife when they return to south India.
“His life is effectively over,” Amberg told Mountain.
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