American Airlines

In-flight sexual assault reports on the rise, FBI says

In-flight sexual assault reports on the rise, FBI says

Don Ward, a retired pilot for USAir and American Airlines, remembers an incident during a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Los Angeles.

A woman sleeping in a window seat reported waking with a start to find the man next to her — also apparently asleep — with his hand on her breast, Ward said. She reported it to the flight crew.

“We called it in,” said Ward, 67, who was waiting for a friend Wednesday at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, en route to a golf trip. “The FBI met us at the airplane and took the guy off.”

While such incidents remain rare, the number of reported sexual assaults — any unwelcome sexual touching, from grazing to even...

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