Does this qualify as a three-peat? Srinivasa S. Erramilli, 45, is now a three-time loser after being convicted yesterday of groping a fellow passenger on an airplane. He was previously convicted of the same offense in 1999 and 2002. This time, he was aboard a June 2011 Southwest Airlines flight when he was caught with his hand on a woman’s inner thigh, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The victim, who awoke to the unwanted touching, was sleeping in the window seat. Her husband was sitting in the aisle seat in order to have easier access to the restroom. The two were returning from a trip to celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary. Erramilli was the last person to board the plane and took the only seat left, between the two spouses.
The victim twice felt movement on her thigh. After that, she feigned sleep until Erramilli reached up her inner thigh. She struck him multiple times and called him a "pig or pervert," according to the Tribune.
When confronted by the victim, he said she "liked it." According to the Sun-Times, he used the same line when caught in 2002. He also tried the classic inadvertent groping excuse. He told the flight attendants that the incident was a misunderstanding and asked them not to call the police, citing his wife and kids. He tried to play that card in 2002 as well, to no avail either time.
The jurors didn't buy any of his excuses. He now faces up to two years in prison after being convicted of the federal charge of engaging in abusive sexual contact. The offense prohibits sexual groping without the other person's permission. Because the offense occurred in an airplane, federal law, as opposed to state law, applies. Though he received probation in the two previous cases, it seems unlikely at this point, for very obvious reasons.
- Speak to a Chicago Criminal Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Sex offender accused of groping woman sleeping on plane (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Man Gropes Sleeping Woman on a Plane, Says She Started It (FindLaw's New York Criminal Law Blog)
- Sleeping Man Gets Unwanted Package Inspection by Seatmate (FindLaw's New York Criminal Law Blog)