Off-duty pilot allegedly groped underage girl on flight
An off-duty pilot for Delta airlines was charged with abusive sexual contact on an aircraft after he allegedly groped a 14-year-old girl on a flight, reports the Smoking Gun. The girl accused Michael James Pascal, 45, of groping her buttocks while she was sleeping. She was sitting in the window seat and told FBI agents, “I made sure I had the armrest down because I usually feel uncomfortable when people get to close to me.” She slept on the three-hour Delta flight from Detroit to Salt Lake City and when she awoke, she said she felt Pascal’s hand “under the left cheek of her buttocks” and she remembered feeling his hand “being palm up and feeling him gripping her buttocks but not moving.” She added that she distinctly saw his eyes open and that he was not asleep and she saw that the armrest was back up.
The girl told investigators she elbowed Pascal and asked him, “What the hell are you doing?” She said Pascal apologized and said he was asleep; the girl asked flight attendants to move her and they called police officers to meet Pascal at the airport.
Pascal told investigators that he remembered putting up the armrest because he didn’t have enough room, but claimed that any groping was an accident and that he fell asleep with his hands in his lap. He added that it’s possible his hand migrated to the girl’s seat while he was sleeping.
Pascal has been in custody since his arrest and awaits a detention hearing Friday afternoon.