Southwest Airlines Sued Over Child Sexual HarassmentWritten by: Cameron Print This Article
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In 2008, a 14-year-old boy was flying by himself on a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Orlando. The boy and his family claim that Southwest Airlines refused to change his seat even though he was being sexually harassed and offered illegal drugs by an intoxicated woman sitting next to him. They have filed a $50,000 lawsuit against the airline in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging the airline is negligent because the woman was obviously harassing the boy and was drunk or on drugs yet the airline refused to protect the child despite repeated requests for help.
The man, from Chicago, alleges his son was forced to sit next to the woman on the flight from Chicago to Orlando in 2008, the Sun-Times Media reports.
The boys is said to have repeatedly got up to avoid her but was told to sit down again by staff.
The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims the airline was negligent because flight attendants failed to protect the boy, who was left so shaken he refused to take a return flight home alone.
“My client was a 14-year-old little boy when he was aggressively, sexually pursued by an older passenger who offered him drugs, who wanted sex from him,” Chicago attorney Jeffrey S. Deutschman said.
“He went to the bathroom four times, he asked to move and he was told to take his seat.”
The public should understand that sexual harassment and child abuse are not the sole domain of males. Some women are entirely capable and willing to abuse children, yet popular culture misleads the public into thinking males are primarily responsible for child abuse. Having been on the receiving side of unwanted sexual advances from a female, the same is true for sexual harassment.
Perhaps Southwest Airlines needs to educate its staff that sexual harassment and child abuse are equal opportunity crime for both perpetrators and victims. We hope the judge in this case will order Southwest Airlines to update its training materials and to notify its employees accordingly.