Tuesday, April 12, 2005

From Air Rage to Air Rape

�A 25-year-old Peabody woman testified yesterday she woke up in horror aboard a Delta flight three years ago to discover a man with his hand down her pants. �What the (expletive) are you doing?� the medical secretary told jurors she said as she grabbed the man�s forearm. �He looked at me as if he had no idea what I was taking about.� The woman identified Arizona health care executive Deepak Jahagirdar yesterday as the man who digitally raped her as she slept during the afternoon Dallas-to-Boston flight on March 31, 2002. Jahagirdar, 56, has pleaded innocent to charges of sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft and faces up to 20 years if convicted. Testing on DNA taken from scrapings of his fingernails matched the woman�s DNA, prosecutors said. The woman, whose name is being withheld, said she tried to leave her row after the assault, but Jahagirdar would not put up his tray table. She pushed by and reported the incident to a flight attendant.� �Boston Herald (US) (Thanks to alanr for the link.) It�s pretty easy to understand the role of temptation in a story such as this. Probably most men have found themselves on a plane, train, or bus, sitting next to an attractive woman (or man, for that matter), and saying to themselves, �Why not? What�s the harm? We�re sitting shoulder-to-shoulder already. That�s not rape. Is it really so awful if, instead of sitting arm-to-arm, we sit finger-to-crotch? She�ll probably never notice, or if she does then maybe she�ll even like it�� But what�s not easy to understand is how anyone would give in to the temptation, particularly on an airplane. It�s not like there�s anywhere to run and hide. What are you going to do � jump out of the plane with a parachute? Land in the middle of the ocean or the forest just so you can enjoy the smell of crotch on your finger for the five minutes that it lasts? Hell, apparently this perp was so unprepared for the consequences of his lapse into temptation that he didn�t even have a good cover story ready. He could have claimed he fell asleep too and was groping her unconsciously while dreaming of his wife. He could have claimed he had a nervous condition that made his hand act independently of his own will (like Doctor Strangelove in Kubrick�s movie). But what did he do instead? He simply acted as though he had no idea what the lady was talking about, which was about the weakest possible defense in the circumstances. It makes you wonder if the perp was as surprised as the victim was by his thoughtless indiscretion. �Oh my God,� he must have thought. �What am I doing? Somebody get me a parachute!�
Looks like he was genuinely on a high ;-) Here's the update:
Passenger claims act was consensual, not assault By J.M. LawrenceTuesday, April 5, 2005 - Updated: 01:22 PM EST A 56-year-old man accused of digitally raping a Peabody woman while she slept on a Delta flight to Boston in 2002 testified the incident was ``entirely consensual.'' Deepak Jirhagirdar, a medical company executive, claimed the 22-year-old woman grabbed his hand and put it down her pants. He told the jury he initially participated but thought of his wife and family and jerked away. But Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. McNeil mocked Jirhagirdar's claim. ''He's not Brad Pitt. He's not Tom Cruise, ladies and gentlemen,'' McNeil told the jury. The victim was a young ``attractive'' woman while Jahagirdar, whom she did not know, is 5-foot-4 and weighs 130 pounds, McNeil said. DNA tests on Jahagirdar's hands linked him to the woman. Yesterday, Jahagirdar's lawyer James Lawson told jurors she made up the assault. ``He said no, and then she went to the back of the plane,'' Lawson said. Lawson argued no one, including a Secret Service agent seated one row ahead of Jahagirdar, heard the woman scream. The agent, however, testified he was sleeping after returning from duty at President Bush's Texas ranch. The alleged victim , who is a medical secretary, testified she awoke in horror and yanked Jahagirdar's hand away with loud words before reporting the incident to flight attendants. Jurors deliberated several hours yesterday and will resume deliberations today.

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