Man convicted of sexual assault on flight to Myrtle Beach

Crime & Safety

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — A man on a 2019 flight from Chicago to Myrtle Beach was convicted of abusive sexual conduct.

Court documents show Siva K. Durbesula, 29, of India, sexually assaulted a 22-year-old female passenger that was seated next to him. The victim testified that Durbesula pulled her toward him and groped her repeatedly, according to Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina M. Rhett DeHart.

Flight attendants moved Durbesula to another seat but he later asked to return and speak to the victim again.

A prior victim also testified that Durbesula pinned her to a corner on a New York City subway and groped her three months before the flight incident. He was charged by the New York Police Department for the assault but charges were still pending at the time of the incident.

Durbesula was indicted in the District of South Carolina and was transferred to the Western District of North Carolina, DeHart said. He earned the maximum statutory punishment for his offense of repeated sexual misconduct over a short time, Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger said. Durbesula faces a prison term, 10 years of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.

Durbesula remains in federal custody and will be transferred to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

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