A woman is suing Southwest Airlines after her 13-year-old daughter was allegedly sexually assaulted by an intoxicated passenger who she claims the airline continued to serve alcohol to.
The incident took place on a flight from Las Vegas and San Antonio on 27 December, according to the lawsuit filing which was seen by Herald Mail Media.
The woman was travelling with her three children and had to sit separately with her five-year-old, while her 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son sat a few rows up.
The woman claimed the man who assaulted her daughter, who has been named as Anthony Ryan, was “visibly intoxicated and smelled of alcohol when he boarded the plane”, but the airline continued to serve him three beers and a shot of tequila.
It is being reported that he drank as many as seven alcoholic drinks at the airport bar before boarding the plane.
“Instead of refusing service, Southwest’s flight attendant served beer after beer to the increasingly obnoxious Ryan,” the filing said.
“Even after telling Ryan that he needed to ‘slow down’, the flight attendant continued to supply him with alcohol.
“Each time the flight attendant served Ryan a drink, he became more flirtatious and aggressive.
“Near the end of the flight, Ryan began fondling the 13-year-old plaintiff’s breasts under her blanket and reached his hand between her legs.”
The 13-year-old was reportedly too “embarrassed and afraid” to call for help or ask the man to stop.
Herald Mail Media reported Ryan was asked to move to another seat after the mother of a different 13-year-old girl complained he was stroking her daughter’s hair.
A San Antonio police report revealed Ryan was later booked for public intoxication and that the assault was being investigated.
Southwest Airlines declined Travel Weekly’s request for comment, as the airline said it was unable to comment on pending litigation.
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