MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A 28-year-old man faces up to two years in federal prison and deportation after being convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 2019 while on a flight from Chicago to Myrtle Beach
Siva K. Durbesula, of India, was convicted by a federal jury in Asheville, North Carolina, of abusive sexual contact aboard an airplane, according to information announced Thursday from Peter M. McCoy, Jr., United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina, and R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
“Every person deserves to feel safe when they travel, and that someone would violate that safety through sexual assault is reprehensible. Those who engage in this type of behavior will be prosecuted,” McCoy said in a press release. “I applaud the courage of the witnesses in the case to step forward. I also appreciate the great work by U.S. Attorney Murray and his team to ensure the defendant’s conviction.”
In June 2019, Durbescula was on Spirit Airlines Flight NK843 from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Myrtle Beach International Airport when he sexually assaulted the 23-year-old passenger next to him, according to authorities. The woman told the court that Durbescula pulled her toward him and touched her breast.
After the flight crew separated them, he asked to return to his seat and speak to her again.
Another woman told the court that in July 2019 Durbescula sat next to her on a subway train in New York City and began groping her breast, according to information given in court. The woman, who was pregnant at the time of the assault, took cell phone video of him leaving the train after the assault, which was admitted at trial.