A 16-year-old girl has alleged that her co-passenger Vijaykumar Krishnappa groped her on a United Airlines Seattle-Newark (NJ) flight on July 23, 2017.
Following the young girl’s complaint, 28-year-old Krishnappa was arrested by FBI agents on July 23, 2017.
Here’s an excerpt from the FBI’s criminal complaint of July 24, 2017:
“Some time into the flight, the victim fell asleep. Defendant KRISHNAPPA placed his hand on the Victim’s thigh, after which the Victim woke and Defendant KRISHNAPPA removed his hand.
The Victim subsequently fell asleep again. While she was sleeping, Defendant KRISHNAPPA put his hand on her groin and inner thigh, and began rubbing the Victim through her clothing. Defendant KRISHNAPPA also tried to put his other hand inside of the Victim’s pants. The Victim was startled awake, and Defendant KRISHNAPPA pulled his hands away.
The Victim immediately reported Defendant KRISHNAPPA to a flight attendant and asked to be moved to another seat because Defendant KRISHNAPPA had touched her. The Victim was moved to another seat.”
Who is Vijaykumar Krishnappa?
Going by his name, Krishnappa appears to be of South Indian origin, possibly from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh.
Krishnappa is in the United States on a medical fellowship and is said to live in New York.
In recent years, several Indian doctors, biochemists and pharmaceutical researchers have come to the United States on months-long fellowships on J and other visas.
Terms Of Release
Krishnappa was released after signing an unsecured bond for $50,000.
His travel has been restricted to New Jersey and New York.
To enable Krishnappa’s location verification, the court ordered his electronic monitoring (presumably by ordering him to wear a device around his ankle).
Since Krishnappa does not have enough money for his legal defense, John Yauch, a federal public defender, has been assigned to represent him.
Vijaykumar Krishnappa must be presumed innocent until and unless he’s convicted in a court of law.
In recent years, U.S. airlines have reduced seat width and pitch and the seating arrangements have become extremely cramped in Economy Class.
It’s possible that any physical contact Krishnappa may have had with the minor girl on the flight may have been accidental.