An unnamed NFL player from Essex County is suing United Airlines saying he was groped by a drugged up woman in his row -- and crew members did little to stop it.
The athlete, listed in the lawsuit filed in Los Angelos Superior Court Monday as John Doe 1, and a Philadelphia man who was in the same aisle and listed as John Doe 2, are seeking compensatory and punitive damages "as they were unnecessarily put at risk and harmed by [two flight attendants] and UNITED's common course of misconduct," the lawsuit states.
The unnamed, "disheveled and unbalanced" woman took the window seat next to the athlete (John Doe 1) in the middle seat of an economy section of the red-eye flight out of Los Angeles Feb. 10, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Daily Voice.
She immediately began questioning him on his face mask, which the athlete explained he was wearing to the growing concern of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lawsuit says.
The athlete and the Philadelphia man both witnessed the woman taking unknown prescription medications approximately 25 minutes after taking her seat, the suit says. The men believe the woman was drunk and under the influence of drugs.
John Doe 2 got up to tell crew members that the woman was harassing the athlete -- but the flight attendant "ignored" the concern and never came to check on the woman or the athlete, the lawsuit says.
The woman continued sexually assaulting John Doe 1, groping and massaging his knees and thighs, the suit says.
"Fearful of the perception of being a male victim and the racial stigma of being a young African American male, John Doe 1 patiently pleaded for assailant to stop and removed her hand assailant's actions were so inappropriate that John Doe 2 quickly went to [flight attendant] to notify him again of assailant's inappropriate behavior," the suit reads.
Again, the crew members did not take action, the lawsuit alleges -- and the woman's advances intensified, this time by groping the athlete's thighs and moving her hands near his genitals, the lawsuit says.
A flight attendant walking by allegedly gave the woman a verbal warning but took no further action.
When the woman turned toward the window, the athlete thought he might finally be able to get some rest -- but then the woman put her hand through his jacket and caressed his chest, working her way up to his face, according to the suit.
She grabbed John Doe 1's penis and then ripped off his face mask, prompting the athlete to jump up from his seat and complain in front of the entire plane, the suit reads.
"JOHN DOE 1, embarrassed and uncomfortable, rushed to notify [a flight attendant], who at the time was in the rear of the plane," the lawsuit says.
"While JOHN DOE 1 went to go notify [the flight attendant], [the woman] moved over to the middle seat (JOHN DOE 1’s seat) and sexually assaulted JOHN DOE 2 by grabbing his leg and groin area."
A flight attendant moved the woman to another row -- and possibly moved her again later for being disruptive again to someone else, the lawsuit reads. The athlete and Philadelphia man were given $150 vouchers for the incident.
"Upon information and belief, UNITED does not have and/or enforces adequate policies and procedures to prevent sexual assaults on its flights, and to properly respond to such incidents that do happen, the suit says.
"UNITED’s failure to have and/or enforce adequate policies and procedures for the prevention of and response to in-flight sexual assaults is a breach of its affirmative duty to protect and care for its passengers."
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