National Football League player sues United Airlines for sexual assault on flight

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"Upon information and belief, UNITED does not have and/or enforces adequate policies and procedures to prevent sexual assaults on its flights, and to properly respond to such incidents that do happen, the suit says".

An anonymous National Football League player has sued United over an incident of sexual assault.

An NFL player claims he was sexually harassed and assaulted multiple times by a woman during a recent flight, and he has filed a lawsuit against United Airlines. The two allege that a total of four complaints were made against a female passenger that was sitting in their row.

The unnamed athlete, John Doe 1, said his ordeal began shortly after the red-eye flight departed Los Angeles for Newark Liberty International Airport on February 10.

The men are suing the woman and two flight attendants, in addition to the airline. (He was wary of the coronavirus, so he wore it.) The woman "began hitting [the player's] arm and elbowing him".

She then, according to the filing, proceeded to make unwelcome sexual advances towards the player. At one point, she removed his face mask.

The attorneys also said they wanted the lawsuit to "shine a light on how assaults can, and are, being made on men, and not just women".

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"While JOHN DOE 1 went to go notify [the flight attendant], [the woman] moved over to the middle seat (JOHN DOE 1's seat) and sexually assaulted JOHN DOE 2 by grabbing his leg and groin area". The men were not named in the lawsuit. They're seeking unspecified statutory and punitive damages from the airline, claiming negligence and infliction of emotional distress.

Flight attendants finally moved the woman to another row, but the suit claims that United's failure to act more quickly was a breach of its duty to protect and care for its passengers.

The airline did not comment on the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for United Airlines said "the safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority". The report stated that sexual assault on board aircraft, which in the United States is a federal crime, had risen significantly.

The lawsuit said the woman was white and the two men are black.

Attorneys Darren Darwish and Benji Azizian added that sexual assaults "continue to be an ongoing problem" and are particularly prevalent on red-eye flights, and said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had warned airlines in 2018 about the "alarming rate" at which those assaults were increasing.

The suit stated that flight attendants only moved the passenger - who was reportedly intoxicated - elsewhere on the aircraft after the harassment turned physical.