After finding a California man guilty of molesting a 13-year-old girl on a Delta Air Lines aircraft, a federal judge gave him a five-year jail term.
According to the evidence and testimony produced at trial, Brian Patrick Durning, 52, was sat next to a 13-year-old girl who was separated from the rest of her family two rows away during a June 23, 2022 redeye flight from Los Angeles to Orlando, Florida.
The Department of Justice claims that Dunning assaulted the child after flight attendants turned down the cabin lights. An adjacent passenger opened their eyes and decided to step in after spotting one of Durning’s hands between the child’s legs.
When the plane’s lights started to dim, Durning allegedly started acting “weird” and started “rubbing his leg up against [the 13-year-old girl], and he kept touching [her] hair.” He then allegedly touched the child’s hair and neck with his hands.
Prosecutors claim that after the youngster tried to stop Durning from touching her, his “hand then ran down the child’s chest and touched her breast.”
The girl was also addressed by Durning as “honey boo,” and he promised to take her to Texas.
Federal prosecutors claim that Durning said, “You are never going to see your family again.”
In addition, the prosecution claims Durning committed acts that were too graphic to be published.
After the encounter, the 13-year-old girl had a “panic attack,” was in tears, and was unable to talk. In addition, she “suffered physical pain and noticed blood in her pants,” according to the prosecution. Prosecutors claim that following the assault, the victim had difficulties sleeping and continued to have nightmares throughout the trial.
Her mother testified in court, saying her daughter “did not want to hang out with her friends…didn’t want to leave the house…didn’t want to go anywhere…wouldn’t go to the beach…wouldn’t wear a bathing suit…didn’t want to go back to school.”
She testified that the woman seated next to the youngster saw what was happening and exchanged places with the 13-year-old. She also stated that Durning tried to “grope [her] breasts” but was stopped.
In court documents, Durning’s lawyer stated that alcohol was a factor in how his client behaved during the flight.
On June 22, Durning was found guilty of abusing a child aboard a plane.
According to a statement released by the DOJ on Wednesday, Durning was given a sentence of five years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
The FBI, Federal Air Marshals, and Orlando Police Department all conducted early investigations into the issue.
The prosecution was initiated by federal prosecutors as a result of Project Safe Childhood, a national DOJ project that was started in 2006 to address child sexual exploitation and abuse.
A Delta Air Lines spokeswoman informed Fox News Digital in response to a request for comment. “Unlawful behaviour is not tolerated here.”