Teen Claims United Let Masturbator Be
LOS ANGELES (CN) - A passenger spent "long periods" of a six-hour flight "masturbating and exposing his penis," and United Airlines didn't stop him, a teenage girl claims in court.
Monica Amestoy sued United Airlines and United Continental Holdings in Superior Court, alleging negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
Amestoy, 18, claims she complained to flight staff, but to "her horror" they neither spoke to the unidentified passenger, nor offered to move her to another seat - "forcing her to sit adjacent to a revolting and lewd display of sexual conduct."
Amestoy, then 17, was returning to Los Angeles from a high school debate tournament in New York in October last year.
She claims she was in an aisle seat, and the male masturbator was separated from her "only by the width of the aisle."
"After the plane took off, the plaintiff saw to her horror that the male passenger directly across the aisle from her had exposed his penis and was masturbating. That passenger had stationed his airline blanket in a way that concealed his activities from other passengers on one side of him. His conduct was very visible to the plaintiff, however," the complaint states.
Amestoy says the passenger "suspended his offensive behavior" after she complained to a flight attendant. But the attendant did nothing but stand "in the vicinity of the offending passenger," Amestoy claims.
"The United flight attendant soon decided to attend to other duties. When she did so, the perpetrator exposed his penis and started to masturbate again," the complaint states.
Even though the flight crew knew of the criminal conduct, Amestoy says, no one talked to the man, or monitored his behavior.
"Later during the flight, the plaintiff got up to use the restroom. On the way to the restroom, the plaintiff passed by the same flight attendant to whom she had complained, and the flight attendant asked if the perpetrator was still exposing himself. The plaintiff said that he was. The flight attendant then stated that the perpetrator's conduct was 'disgusting,' but took no other action. In particular, the flight attendant and/or crew took no action to relocate the plaintiff, to prevent the perpetrator from exposing himself or masturbating, or to report the offensive conduct to the flight deck," the complaint states.
Amestoy adds: "She feared, among other things, that the perpetrator might ejaculate, and cause her to come into offensive contact with his sperm. United's conduct toward the plaintiff was outrageous, and went beyond the scope of normal aircraft operations."
United never contacted authorities, Amestoy claims. She says it was left to her father to report the incident to the police. The man was investigated, charged, and pleaded guilty to the alleged crimes, the complaint states.
Amestoy seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
United Airlines spokeswoman Karen May told Courthouse News in an email that the airline would review the complaint when it received it.
"The comfort and security of our customers is our top priority," May wrote.
Amestoy is represented by Gloria Allred with Allred, Maroko & Goldberg.