An 11-year-old girl flying alone from San Diego to Atlanta has alleged that she was sexually molested by a man who moved into the empty seat next to her on the flight. She reported the assault to her mother later but no charges have been brought or suspect arrested.
This is not the first such assault. Northwest Airlines paid more than $500,000 to a girl who claimed she was repeatedly sexually molested by a man on a flight from Kansas City, Mo., to Detroit in 2001. In that case, however, the girl was able to identify the alleged culprit.
In March, a woman accused an off-duty Northwest Airlines employee of molesting her and in 2005, a woman said that she was assaulted while sleeping by a man on an overnight flight — he received seven years in prison.
As a common carrier, Delta falls under a common law rule that allows liability for the slightest negligence. While criminal act or intentional torts often cut off liability under legal causation, this is not a barrier for a common carrier or when there is a duty to watch over a minor known to be traveling alone.
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