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Man Faces 20 Years Imprisonment For Sexually Assaulting Flight Attendant on American Eagle Flight

Man Faces 20 Years Imprisonment For Sexually Assaulting Flight Attendant on American Eagle Flight

  • Leon Anderson of Maumelle, Arkansas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to interfering with a flight attendant.
  • Anderson allegedly grabbed the male flight attendant at least three times and wrapped his arm around the flight attendant's waist.
  • He also made "inappropriate, sexual comments" towards the flight attendant.
  • One in five flight attendants have experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the previous 12-months.
an American Eagle regional jet seen taking off through clouds

A man faces a potential prison sentence of 20 years behind bars, on top of a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to interfering with a flight attendant during an American Eagle flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Leon Anderson, 40, was originally indicted by a grand jury with one count of abusive sexual contact after repeatedly touching the male flight attendant and making sexually suggestive comments towards him.

As part of a plea agreement, Anderson pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of interfering with a flight attendant during the February 11, 2020, flight which was operated by PSA Airlines on behalf of American Airlines.

Prosecutors claim Anderson grabbed the flight attendants leg prior to the departure of flight AA5686, startling the flight attendant and causing him to turn around and confront Anderson.

Despite apologizing and claiming it was a mistake, Anderson put one of his arms around the flight attendant’s shoulder and wrapping his other arm around his waist, all whilst apologizing.

Obviously, not wanting any further contact, the flight attendant told Anderson that no further apology was needed.

That, however, didn’t stop Anderson from making “inappropriate, sexual comments” towards the flight attendant or going on to grab him a further two times in a “sexual manner”. The flight attendant notified the Captain of what was happening and law enforcement were then called to meet the aircraft on arrival.

A survey of flight attendants in 2018 revealed that one-in-five had experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the previous 12-months.

Over two-thirds of flight attendants who took part in the survey said they had experienced sexual harassment during their flying careers and 35 per cent had endured verbal sexual harassment in the last year.

Staggeringly, only 7 per cent of affected flight attendants had reported the abuse to their employer. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) which commissioned the survey called on airlines to do more to tackle sexual harassment – both against flight attendants and passengers.

View Comments (2)
  • I don’t see the crime. The only thing this could be construed as is harassment, however, the flight attendant did not tell him not to touch him. Touching a shoulder or patting someone on the back is not a crime nor is unheard of. It is strange and it is not appropriate but it is not criminal unless the flight attendant told him not to,do,it which he didn’t,

  • It is true and rather very unfortunate that cabin attendants face several harassment from passengers whom they are employed to take care of on board. This has been an age long thing. I could recall that in my days as one it was not viewed seriously by my employer. However this resulted in the victims not caring about reporting it. Then reporting it to your employer may cost you your job because the harraser may be influential. I am very happy that cabin attendant are getting judgment for this stupid crimes against them.

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