A JetBlue passenger faces the threat of spending three years in prison and being forced to pay a $250,000 fine after he was accused of sexually assaulting two female travelers aboard a redeye flight from Los Angeles to Boston Logan airport on Monday night.
One of the victims, a mother of two, was caring for her baby when she suddenly felt the man sitting next to her caressing her upper thigh before he “reached deeper” into her groin.
The victim screamed “this man just groped me” as she pressed the flight attendant call button and pointed to the suspect who has been named by Massachusetts State Police as Jairaj Singh Dhillon, 42, of Modesto, California.
The assault occurred just 30 minutes into the five-hour journey but JetBlue flight 988, which departed Los Angeles at around 9:20 pm on Monday, continued all the way to Boston Logan where it landed 5:20 am before Dhillon was taken into custody.
According to an FBI affidavit, the first victim immediately shouted over to her husband who was sitting on the opposite side of the aisle after being assaulted. The pair had been separated because their baby was traveling in a car seat that had to be secured to a window seat.
The victim’s husband got up from his seat to go fetch a flight attendant but in doing so, he forced the second victim to leave her seat.
The second victim had seen a commotion but wasn’t aware of what the first victim had shouted because she was wearing noise-cancelling headphones. She briefly stood in the aisle waiting for the flight attendant to arrive when Dhillon allegedly reached out with both hands and grabbed her “groin and buttocks”.
Flight attendants moved Dhillon to a seat close to the front of the aircraft with an unoccupied seat next to it and arranged for law enforcement to meet the flight on arrival in Boston.
Dhillon waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily told police that he had taken an Ambien sleeping tablet shortly after takeoff and was sleeping when the alleged assault took place.
Claiming that he wouldn’t have assaulted the first victim because he was not attracted to her, Dhillon said any contact with either victim must have been accidental.
Dhillon has been charged with abusive sexual contact while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States which carries a maximum possible sentence of three years imprisonment, plus a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
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.