Lawsuit Says United Airlines Didn’t Help Teen Sexually Assaulted on Seattle Flight

Excerpt from, published Jan 22, 2019

A lawsuit filed last week accused United Airlines of failing to protect a 16-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted on a July 2017 flight from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey.

Vijaykumar Krishnappa, 29, was sentenced to 90 days at a federal court in New Jersey earlier this month.

But the complaint filed in King County Superior Court says that United failed to take appropriate action when the victim called for help, even letting Krishnappa walk off the flight afterward, prompting the girl’s mother to call law enforcement so he could be arrested the next day.

“The conduct of United in this case is unconscionable from start to finish,” said attorney Samuel Daheim, who, with Julie Kays, represents the victim and her mother in the case.

For its part, United issued a public statement indicating it cooperated with the criminal investigation and let the victim change seats.

The lawsuit says that the flight attendant who responded did nothing to rectify the situation except to tell Krishnappa, “not cool, dude,” and move the teen a few rows ahead, where Krishnappa could still see her.

The Seattle-based flight crew allegedly did nothing to investigate or document the incident and only gave the teen a bag of peanuts as she cried hysterically.

Upon landing more than four hours later, Krishnappa walked off the flight — meaning, Daheim said, that United crew violated federal law by failing to report the assault to authorities.

United Airlines is on the 2019 Dirty Dozen List for systemic outbreaks of inappropriate aircrew reactions to sexual harassment on their airplanes. Learn more and take action at

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.

Defend Human Dignity. Donate Now.

Defend Dignity.
Donate Now.