A 38-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, plus five years of supervised release and a $2,000 fine for sexually assaulting a school girl onboard an American Airlines flight from Charlotte Douglas to Raleigh-Durham.
Ryan Eugene Larned of Fayetteville, North Carolina will also have to register as a sex offender as part of a plea agreement he made with prosecutors.
According to court documents, Larned had been assigned a seat next to the lone 17-year-old girl on the short 35-minute American Airlines flight. Larned didn’t say anything to the victim before he went about assaulting her.
Prosecutors alleged that Larned placed his jacket over both their laps, touched her groin and then reached into the victim’s pants. The victim immediately alerted flight attendants who were able to separate her from Larned and call law enforcement to meet the aircraft.
Court documents noted that at 6’2’’ tall and weighing 220 pounds, Larned towered over the petite 5’1’’ 100-pound victim.
The incident took place on February 17, 2021, and a grand jury formally indicted Larned a month later.
“Safe air travel is essential to our economy and keeping families connected,” commented Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
“This defendant assaulted a young woman traveling alone, and now he will be spending time behind bars and will be identified as a sex offender in the community.”
“No passenger, flight crew, or flight attendant should have to fly in fear. My office will continue to prosecute crimes that jeopardize the safety of the flying public.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.