An Indian citizen has been sentenced to nine years in prison for what prosecutors in Michigan called one of "the most brazen airplane sexual assaults ever prosecuted in this district." Prabhu Ramamoorthy, a 35-year-old tech worker, was found guilty in August of sexually assaulting the woman next to him on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit in January. Prosecutor said Ramamoorthy—whose wife was on his other side during the night flight—put his hands down the sleeping woman's pants and penetrated her vagina, the Detroit Free Press reports. His wife wept as he was sentenced Thursday. Prosecutors had sought an 11-year sentence.
Ramamoorthy—who confessed to FBI agents that he put his hands down the woman's pants and "might have" unhooked her bra—will be deported to India when he completes his sentence, the BBC reports. Prosecutors told US District Judge Terrence Berg that Ramamoorthy had shown no remorse. His lawyers asked for leniency, saying he had been assaulted in prison and would be shunned after returning to India. Assistant US Attorney Amanda Jawad said in a court filing that FBI statistics showed a steep rise in midair sexual assaults, "in part due to increasingly 'cramped, confined spaces; alcohol and drugs; fewer flight attendants; and dark cabins on night flights'—factors that 'likely embolden offenders.'" (The FBI urges fliers to "hit that call button" when there is an incident.)