Photo Credit: Matthew Ansley
Man Who Sexually Assaulted Woman Mid-Flight Receives Max Prison Sentence
A 29-year-old man who sexually assaulted a woman on an airplane in 2019 was convicted and received the maximum sentence of two years in federal prison, according to Fox News.
Following his two years behind bars, Siva K. Durbesula, who is originally from India, will be required to undergo 10 years of supervised release and also pay a $5,000 assessment, as ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger.
The incident took place on June 23, 2019, aboard a flight headed from Chicago, Illinois to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. According to court documents, witness testimony, and evidence presented at his trial, Durbesula sexually assaulted the woman seated next to him on the flight.
The victim testified that during the flight, Durbesula pulled her toward him and repeatedly groped her. After being removed from his seat and away from the victim, Durbesula asked to return to his seat to speak to the victim again.
Durbesula was found guilty by a jury of abusive sexual contact aboard an airplane. This was not his first incident of this nature. In fact, Durbesula had previous sexual misconduct charges pending when the incident on board the plane occurred.
During the trial, a second witness testified that just three months prior, Durbesula sexually assaulted her on a New York City subway train. She said that he pinned her into the corner of the train and groped her. The victim was able to record him as he exited the train, which ultimately aided police in identifying him.
Durbesula’s sentencing announcement was made Friday. Judge Reidinger mentioned that due to the repeated sexual misconduct over a short period of time, the maximum statutory punishment would be required in order to promote respect for the law.