TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — U.S. marshals arrested a man Friday after he allegedly molested a girl he was sitting next to on a flight to Orlando, according to a federal court document.
A criminal complaint filed in the Middle District of Florida said Brian Patrick Durning, 51, was on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Orlando when the incident happened.
A senior inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service said the teenage victim told authorities continually touched her despite her trying to lean away from him. Eventually, Durning’s contact became sexual as the victim froze up, the complaint stated.
Durning’s inappropriate behavior was discovered when a female passenger who was sleeping in the same row woke up and saw him move his hand away from the victim’s leg, according to the inspector.
The document said the female passenger asked the victim if Durning touched her as the victim began shaking and crying. The passenger then had the victim switch seats with her as she asked for the victim’s mother and a flight attendant.
The woman told Durning to not talk to the victim “because [he was] scaring her.” The inspector said the female passenger told authorities Durning then tried to touch her breast.
The victim’s mother, who had to sit two rows ahead due to reservation problems, confronted the suspect when her daughter mouthed the words “he touched me” to her.
The inspector said the victim’s mother noticed that Durning’s pants were unzipped during her confrontation. A flight attendant moved Durning to a seat away from the victim shortly after.
When interviewed by a federal air marshal, Durning said he had one to two beers before the flight and took an Ambien pill and a glass of wine .during the flight. The document said Durning told authorities he fell asleep and could only remember someone waking him up and asking him to switch flights.
Durning was taken into custody and charged with abusive sexual contact of a minor on aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.