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A Michigan woman says a passenger assaulted her as she slept on a Spirit Airlines flight

A Michigan woman says a passenger assaulted her as she slept on a Spirit Airlines morning flight from Atlanta to Detroit.

Posted: Jan 22, 2020 9:40 AM
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 9:40 AM

A Michigan woman says a passenger assaulted her as she slept on a Spirit Airlines morning flight from Atlanta to Detroit.

Detroit student Tia Jackson, 22, told CNN she was in the middle seat Tuesday while her friend was sitting by the window and a man they didn't know had the aisle seat.

During the flight, Jackson said she put in her AirPods and went to sleep, leaning on her friend with her back to the man in the aisle seat.

Just before the plane landed, she felt the person next to her touch her, and didn't know what it was at first. "Then I thought, maybe he just bumped me," she said. The touch then changed and she felt the man's hand inside the back of her pants, according to Jackson.

She immediately jumped up and pushed the call button, she said, and told the man, "Hey -- you are going to stop touching me! Get off of me!"

Jackson said she notified the flight attendant, who offered to move her seat, but she refused because she didn't want to leave her friend and she felt like she was being punished for what he'd done.

"He touched my bare ass! He needs to be moved!" she said she told the flight attendant.

None of the passengers were moved

Neither passenger was moved, according to Jackson, and the plane landed at the Detroit airport. She said she spoke to the pilot as she deplaned, and the pilot told her to talk to the gate agent.

Jackson said she felt ignored and mistreated by the airline so she filed a report with the police at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Spirit Airlines said they're aware of the incident and offered to move Jackson to another seat at the time.

"We take this claim seriously and are in direct contact with the guest. We thank our crew for their quick and professional assistance to address the situation," the airline said in a statement.

"Our flight attendants on board that flight learned of the alleged incident 18 minutes prior to landing when the guest pressed the call button and received immediate attention. Once she told the flight attendant who came to her seat, the flight attendant directed her to a different seat. The cabin crew wanted to move her, as opposed to him, because the move would have left him with an empty seat on one side and an aisle on the other."

The airline said by the time Jackson declined to move, landing was imminent and everyone had to be seated as required by federal regulation.

"Law enforcement began its investigation immediately after the flight arrived," the airline said. "We are supporting law enforcement as they investigate. Questions about that investigation should be directed to them."

Passenger says airline failed her

Jackson said she's speaking out because she is worried about other potential victims. "He needs to be held responsible. He is a predator. He displays predatory behavior. Who knows who else he has done this to," she said. "I don't want anyone else to ever have to fall victim to him."

She accused airline employees of failing her when she reported the alleged incident. "They let him and any potential witnesses leave," Jackson said.

Police told CNN the police report has not been finalized and the FBI is handling the investigation.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
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Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
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Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
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Union6297
Ohio4977
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
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Mahoning17471339
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Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
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Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
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Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
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Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
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