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A woman is speaking out after she was allegedly assaulted on a flight from Miami to Indianapolis on Friday, saying “don’t ever think you’re going to know how to respond.”
CBS4 reported that Shauna Smith was ready for a relaxing flight when she sat in her assigned seat on her trip back home. However, she soon noticed a male passenger in front of her speaking to a female passenger next to him. Not long after, the male passenger, identified as 61-year-old Reginald Hatcher, got up and moved next to Smith. Immediately, she said he started to make explicit remarks.
"He began making references to minors and sexual intercourse," Smith told the outlet. "The conversations went back and forth between his family and then back to sexual content, then back to his family, then back to sexual content again."
It wasn't long until Smith said Hatcher started to make unwanted physical advances on her.
"He leaned in and kissed me on the cheek, and I kind of turned my head a little bit, and was just so taken back," Smith said. "He did it again. He said, 'I like that, I want to do it again.' And, did it again."
Smith, sitting at the window seat with Hatcher's belongings on her tray table, said she felt she was unable to escape. She recalled to CBS4 that at one point she was facing the window and Hatcher leaned in so close to her face that she could "feel his breath on me. He spit on my chest."
Smith was able to get a flight attendant’s attention on the Republic Airlines flight, operated under American Airlines. The flight attendant asked Smith if Hatcher was with her, to which she shook her head no and mouthed the words "Help me,” CBS4 reported.
The flight attendant separated the passengers and ensured that the crew requested law enforcement to meet them at the gate upon landing.
Smith and the flight attendant both said Hatcher had his own bottles of alcohol with him, which he said he bought on another flight.
"He opened his own bottle of vodka and poured it in," Smith said. "This was his second drink that he had done that with." Legally, passengers cannot bring alcohol onboard that was purchased on another flight.
However, officers gave Hatcher a breathalyzer test, which showed he had no alcohol in his system, according to CBS4. The Marion County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for the police report.
Officers arrested Hatcher at the airport, and he was charged with battery and disorderly conduct. He bonded out of jail on Saturday and is expected in court next month.
Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to Republic Airlines Corporate Communications for a response but has not yet received a response. The airline provided FOX59 with the following statement: "When our flight attendant became aware of a passenger’s aggressive and unwelcome conduct in violation of our rules and directed toward another passenger, she acted to separate the passengers and our crew requested that the flight be met by law enforcement officers upon landing. In this situation, as in all others, our crew members are trained and empowered to act to protect the safety of their passengers and their fellow crew members."
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