The Colorado woman claims she was raped in a toilet in mid-flight on an American Airlines plane.
A Colorado woman who claims she was raped last summer during an American Airlines flight is suing the carrier after it offered her $5,000 to settle.
On June 16, 2017, Aubrey Lane to board the red-eye American Airlines Flight 1280 from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport en route to New York JFK International Airport to see her family, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Sexual misconduct on airplanes has persisted for years, but there is a growing movement to call awareness of the problem. It is driven by people like Aubrey Lane, who shared her story with @dallasnews https://t.co/Ep5FudqGNa
— Conor Shine (@Conor_Shine) March 15, 2018
When she got up to go to the restroom a few hours on the flight, the 31-year-old real estate professional who claims she was followed and soon locked in the toilet and assaulted by a drunk male passenger who was sitting next to her.
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“I was feeling overwhelmed … all of a sudden, I was in the middle seat, screaming. On top of the pain and sadness and fear, I was also embarrassed,” Lane told the outlet of the traumatic experience.
After informing the cabin crew of the attack, the Colorado Springs resident says she was moved to the back of the plane for the duration of the flight. Police met her at JFK and she was treated in a hospital.
She said the alleged rapist was not held.
Lane is now planning to sue American Airlines, if they are not satisfied with the $5,000 the airline offered as her lawyers contact the airline in December 2017, the New York Post reports.
“I would like to see what kind of human reaction. I’d like them to acknowledge this is a problem,” Lane said.
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The Post reports that FBI officials are investigation of Lane’s allegations, but did not return their request for comment. Lane’s lawyers say that she had offered to meet with the representatives for the airline to discuss the incident, but American Airlines declined the offer in part due to the FBI investigation.
The Dallas Morning News adds that Lane was interviewed by the FBI investigators in the hospital after the incident, but the man who allegedly raped her is not stopped at the gate after deplaning.
“American ultimate responsibility for the safety of their passengers,” said Lane’s attorney, James McDonough, The Dallas Morning News. “On the basis of the actions of American Airlines flight crew, the safety of Aubrey was not the Number 1 priority.”
On March 16, American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein confirmed to Fox News via phone interview that they were “deeply troubled” by the alleged incident, adding that the ongoing investigation and that no one has yet been charged with any crime.
“We want all of our customers a safe, positive holiday experience with us and we are deeply troubled by any allegation of misconduct on board the aircraft or at one of our facilities. Our crew contact with law enforcement, who met the plane upon arrival at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. If this is still an ongoing investigation, you can contact the FBI or the attorney of the V. S. for the Eastern District of New York for more information on their research,” said Feinstein.
“Our corporate security team will always be an investigative aid we can to federal, state and/or local police, if we want people who commit crimes on our aircraft will be held responsible for their actions.”
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However, he said that the airline officials could not make contact with the Lane as she reached out with her claim, and they should, given the seriousness of her allegations.
“We should have followed up immediately afterwards with Mrs. Lane to assure her how serious we were taking her claims. It is important to note that the way we work with our customers after an incident like Mrs. Lane’s has changed in the past few months,” he said.
“If this incident happened today, Mrs. Lane would have received a call from our customer relations team to ensure that we were her with the best care at this difficult time. We are constantly focused on improving our customers experience and this is a positive change that we have made in the last few months,” he added.
The FBI has not responded to an email for comment.
Commercial carriers are in the heads of a lot, including stories about a two-year-old girl being kicked off of a Southwest flight, a French bulldog ‘ s tragic death in a United overhead bin, and Alaska Airlines first officer’s allegations of rape against a senior pilot during an overnight work trip.
Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter via @JaninePuhak