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Teen Claims She Was Groped On United Air Flight

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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) - A 16-year-old girl claims she was sexually assaulted on a United Airlines flight from Seattle to Newark earlier this year.

"I knew what was going on but like, I just thought I was dreaming or something, like, this cannot really be happening," she said.

The teen said she was traveling alone from Seattle, sleeping on her overnight flight, when she awoke to find the stranger sitting next to her touching her.

"I could feel his hand on my thigh, and one of his hands had like, came between my legs and he was rubbing me between my legs," she said. " Then he tried to put his other hand underneath my pants, and then I kind of woke up and I was like, what are you doing?"

The teen said she reported it to a flight attendant who moved her to another seat a few rows up. She despite the move, she was terrified.

When the plane landed and parked at the gate, the teen said everyone simply walked off, including the man she says sexually assaulted her.

The girl's mother said she thought she was going to die when her daughter told her what had happened.

"I'm 3000 miles away. My child says she's been sexually assaulted and I'm asking her questions and she's like, disoriented, I'm like, where is he? Do you see him? And she said, he just walked by me. And I said, get the police, get United," she said.

Her mother said she finally got a United terminal supervisor on the phone.

"At that point the supervisor told me that United did not follow their own protocols. She said, you were the first person telling me of your daughter's assault. I don't have a manifest. I don't have a report. I don't even know who he is or where he is," she said.

Later that day, the police and the FBI, which handles incidents in the air, did track down the passenger and arrest him.

Vijakumar Krishnappa, a visiting doctor on a fellowship according to one medical center, is charged with one count of abusive sexual contact on an airplane. His attorney says Krishnappa "adamantly denies the charges and deserves to be considered an innocent man".

Krishnappa is currently out on bail. If convicted he could face up to two years in prison and possible deportation.

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