LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — A Los Angeles teenager announced on Thursday that she was suing United Airlines, claiming she was subjected to a male passenger touching himself on a recent flight.
Monica Amestoy, 18, said it happened last October on her flight back to Los Angeles after participating in a high school debate tournament in New York.
“After we took off, the guy on the aisle seat across from me started masturbating and exposing himself while staring at me,” Amestoy said.
Amestoy, who was 17 at the time, said she was terrified and disgusted, and immediately told a flight attendant.
“I thought he would tell the man to stop or move. He did neither. The flight attendant told me that he couldn’t move me because there were no seats available in my class,” Amestoy said.
She said that, despite her repeated complaints to the flight crew, she was subjected to the man’s sexual behavior for the entire 6-hour flight.
Amestoy said the man concealed his behavior from other passengers with a blanket, and the only time he would stop was when a flight attendant was near.
After the flight landed at LAX, Amestoy was picked up by her father, who called authorities when they arrived at home.
The male passenger was later convicted for his lewd actions.
Amestoy and her parents then hired attorney Gloria Allred, who filed a lawsuit against the airline.
“We have filed this lawsuit and are speaking out because we want United to have a clear policy that they implement to protect victim passengers in the future,” Allred said.
The airline should report anyone who engages in sexual misconduct to law enforcement before the offender leaves the plane, Allred said.
United Airlines issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
“The comfort and security of our customers is our top priority, and we will closely review this complaint when we receive it.”