LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A San Gabriel girl, along with her family, sued United Airlines Thursday, claiming flight attendants didn’t take action when she reported that a fellow passenger was pleasuring himself in front of her on a flight last year.
Monica Amestoy, 18, who filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court with attorney Gloria Allred, said the incident happened on a six-hour flight from New York to Los Angeles on Oct. 21, 2012.
Amestoy, then 17 years old, said a man in the aisle across from her exposed himself and touched himself inappropriately.
She said the man used a blanket to hide what he was doing from other passengers.
Amestoy said she complained twice to flight attendants, but was told there was nothing they could do because there were no other available seats in coach.
The lawsuit also alleged the crew let the man leave and never notified police.
Amestoy, however, told her father about the situation, who called law enforcement. The suspect later pled guilty and was convicted of the crime.
“I was terrified and disgusted throughout the flight and kept hoping that the man would stop. But he did not. Except for brief moments when the flight attendant was standing next to him in the immediate vicinity,” said Amestoy.
“I trusted United with one of my children, the most important thing in my life. I’m so angry that when she asked for help, she was ignored, dismissed and left helpless to endure a disgusting indecency,” said Amestoy’s mother, Margaret.
The family said they complained to United and did get an apology in the form of an email, but they felt that was not sufficient.
Allred said Amestoy spoke out to make sure other passengers will be safeguarded.
“This lawsuit is not just about asserting Monica’s rights,” she said. “It is about protecting all passengers from this kind of victimization in the future.”
In a statement, United Airlines spokesperson Karen May said, “The comfort and security of our customers is our top priority, and we will closely review this complaint when we receive it.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.