• Woman sues Delta, saying she was groped on flight out of Seattle

    By: Patranya Bhoolsuwan

    Updated:

    A woman from Bainbridge Island is on a mission to change the airline industry when it comes to tackling sexual assaults at 30,000 feet.

    Allison Dvaladze said she was a victim when a passenger groped her on board a Delta flight from Seattle to Amsterdam in April 2016.

    “He put his hand on my crotch multiple times,” said Dvaladze. “I right away hit his hand and yelled, 'No!' I worked as hard as I could to get away.”

    Now she's suing the airline, saying Delta failed to change its policy or improve its training for flight crews, even though she's been pushing for action for two years.

    She even launched a Facebook campaign, gathering stories from other victims, to show she's not alone.

    “A lot of airlines don’t want to be identified as the airline that has the problem,” said Dvaladze. “This is not an airlines specific problem this is an industrywide problem.”

    KIRO 7 also talked with retired FBI agent Michael Adams, who was based at Sea-Tac for five years.

    He estimates he looked into at least one report of sexual assault out of Sea-Tac each month, but many cases didn't lead to charges.

    “A lot of times it’s not a challenge to identify who they are,” said Adams. “The difficult part is proving that they committed this crime.”

    Nationwide, the FBI investigated 63 cases of sexual assaults on airplanes in 2017.

    That's up from 38 four years ago.

    We reached out to Delta Airlines to get its response on the lawsuit. Company officials are not commenting, citing pending litigation.


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