A 16-year-old girl was traveling alone on a united airlines flight from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey when the passenger seated next to her, a 28-year-old doctor, began inappropriately groping her. The teenager asked flight crew for a new seat and the doctor, Vijayakumar Krishnappa, was later arrested.

Teenager groped by doctor on United flight

The Washington Post reports that a 16-year-old teenager was traveling alone on a July 23 flight from Seattle to attend a leadership conference at Princeton. She fell asleep and awoke to a man touching her thigh.

According to the federal complaint, Krishnappa, who was seated next to the teen, immediately took his hand away and the girl went back to sleep.

However, as reported by the New York Daily News, the teenager was startled awake again after Krishnappa then placed his hand on the girl’s groin, touched her inner thigh and started rubbing her body through her clothing. He then allegedly tried to put his hand into her pants. This led the teenager to report the incident to the United Airlines flight crew, who allowed her to change seats but did nothing to detain the passenger on arrival at Newark.

Family files complaint against United Airlines relating to incident

According to NJ.com, after the flight, the teenager’s family filed a complaint against the airline for not detaining Krishnappa following the alleged assault on the girl. An investigation was then launched by the FBI and the teenager picked Krishnappa from a photo lineup, based on the manifest of the United Airlines flight.

Doctor arrested and facing charges

Following his identification, Krishnappa was arrested on charges of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor. The doctor is reportedly in the United States, studying medicine through a fellowship allowing foreign doctors to study with medical experts in the U.S.

The Washington Post spoke to John Yauch, Krishnappa’s court-appointed attorney, who said his client strongly denies the charges and that he should be considered an innocent man.

Krishnappa was later released on bond and is being electronically monitored. While the case is pending, the doctor has been ordered to have no contact with any minors.

United Airlines said in a statement that they are investigating the incident on their flight, saying their top priority is the safety and security of their passengers. The statement continued by saying the airline takes the allegations seriously and is continuing to cooperate with the proper authorities.