Saturday, December 15, 2018

H1-B Visa Worker Assaults Woman on Spirit Airlines

Supposedly India is the most dangerous nation in the world for women. It's difficult to compare sexual assault statistics between the US and India because of different definitions of rape and dissimilar cultural expectations about reporting and blame. The official statistics show that there are more rapes per 100,000 in the US than in India. 

I don't know about that. I do know that one Prabhu Ramamoorthy, an Indian national, assaulted a woman on an airplane. Fortunately the woman immediately identified Ramamoorthy as the attacker.

With his wife crying in the courtroom, a Rochester Hills man was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting a sleeping woman on an airplane, sticking his hands down her pants and penetrating her genitalia while his wife sat next to him. As prosecutors put it, Prabhu Ramamoorthy "committed one of the most brazen airplane sexual assaults ever prosecuted in this district" when he knowingly took advantage of a sleeping, intoxicated woman who could not fight back.

The 35-year-old defendant, who chose not to speak at his sentencing hearing or address the victim, will be deported to India when he gets out of prison. He will never be allowed back into the United States. U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg said that he was "concerned" that the defendant offered no expression of remorse, but that he wouldn't hold it against him, noting defendants have a right to remain silent and can't be forced into saying anything.

The prosecution had asked for a 130-month sentence, almost 11 years. Berg concluded that nine years was a fitting punishment for what he described as "an extremely serious offense."According to court records, the 22-year-old victim was sleeping in the seat next to Ramamoorthy on a nighttime Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit in January when she was jolted awake by the feeling of his fingers in her vagina. 

Her shirt and pants were unbuttoned. "When he realized (the victim) was awake, the defendant turned and pretended to sleep on his wife's shoulder while his wife stared at (the victim)," Jawad wrote in a sentencing memo. The victim sat paralyzed in disbelief, and texted her boyfriend.

Ramamoorthy told investigators that he was sleeping and the victim was sleeping on him, and he wasn't sure where he kept his hand. He denied touching her intentionally. Later, Ramamoorthy admitted to FBI agents that he put his fingers in her pants and "might" have unhooked her bra. Ramamoorthy grew up in India. He earned a bachelor's degree and came to the U.S. on a work visa.

Prosecutors said in court filings that midair sexual assaults are on the rise, with FBI statistics showing a 66-percent increase from 2014 to 2017. "That is in part due to increasingly 'cramped, confined spaces; alcohol and drugs; fewer flight attendants; and dark cabins on night flights' — factors that 'likely embolden offenders,' " Jawad wrote. STORY

Something is wrong when a woman can't even take an airplane flight without some pervert trying to molest her. I didn't know there was such an increase in midair sexual assaults. There ought to be more security on board commercial jets. I am baffled by the fact that Ramamoorthy committed this crime in front of his wife. The fact that Ramamoorthy was on an H1-B visa when he only has a bachelor's degree is also another example of how big corporations game the system. There is not exactly a shortage of American citizens with bachelor's degrees looking for work in the IT industry. The H1-B is supposed to be used to bring over the best and brightest, people with rare talents. Instead it's been used to flood the market with cheap laborers, one of whom happened to be a rapist.  
But put aside the visa issue. It's of secondary importance. I don't understand how anyone, regardless of nationality gets it in his head to do what Ramamoorthy did. But he will hopefully serve his full prison sentence. During that time he may well come to have a better appreciation of how wrong it is for people to force themselves upon others. It is indeed true that friends don't let friends fly Spirit Airlines.
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