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Could a sex offender be sitting next to your child on the plane?

Who’s sitting next to you on the plane? Or better question…who’s sitting next to your child?

I thought I would share with you something disturbing my friend just experienced on a flight. I will not say what airline, but my friend gave me her permission to use her name…

Person sitting on a plane in the window seat.

Creepy Flight Experience

Colleene and Mike were on their way to Colorado. Mike jumped into the window seat and Colleene got the middle. At first there was a woman with a baby in the aisle seat.

A couple rows up Colleene noticed a fidgety man who looked a little “off”. He kept turning around and staring at her. After a few minutes he came back and asked the woman next to Colleene if she would like to switch with him to be closer to her husband. Of course, she took him up on it.

Colleene was creeped out by this man, but just thought maybe he was a nervous flyer or really did have some sort of problem. She said he looked like he was in his mid 50’s, clean cut and not bad looking (not like that means anything!). She was still a little iffy about him…

About mid-flight Colleene and Mike both dozed off…What woke Colleene up is the whole reason I am writing this post…the man sitting next to her was aggressively rubbing her upper thigh. I am talking – very upper thigh – if you know what I mean. What…The…Hell.

Now, you need to know that Colleene is my least dramatic friend. She is the type to totally handle situations quietly and not cause a scene. She can definitely take care of herself and is not an over-reactor by any means!

She scolded the man as much as she could over the loud noises of the plane. At this point the flight was descending and it was harder to hear. Mike was still asleep and oblivious to what was happening.

Even after she yelled at the man she said he was still sitting there staring at her. That was when she thought she had to notify an attendant. This man clearly had issues and what if he was sitting next to a child?

She called the flight attendant and later had to press charges with the feds when they got off the plane. Since it happened in the air, it’s the FBI’s jurisdiction.

To speed up this story, Colleene later found out that this man had no prior convictions. Whoever she was dealing with told her that he is married and works in the film industry in California.

She shared this story with another friend who works for a popular airline. This person said that something similar to this occurred just a few days after it happened to Colleene on one of her flights. This time the culprit WAS a registered sex offender. She also said that the airline has no screening process to see if a passenger is a predator.

This freaked me the heck out. I am already a nervous flyer. Of course, I am more concerned about terrorists, crazy people trying to open the door, and the plane gaining a sunroof mid-flight…but, add this to the list now, too! Looks like I am going to ditch the pre-flight cocktails and ALWAYS make sure I get “A” seating!

All joking aside…I am sharing this with you because a lot of you are parents and I think this is something worth knowing. Just to keep an eye out and maybe make sure that YOU are always sitting next to your child and not a stranger.

~~~On a side note – Colleene is not happy at all about how the airline handled this. She was told that she would receive a phone call to follow up with her horrendous flight.

Granted, it wasn’t directly the airline’s fault that there was a creep on the plane, but a simple apology would have gone a long way. After a few weeks, she took it upon herself to call them and was rudely asked, “Why would WE call and apologize?”

Personally, I was somewhat surprised to learn that sex offenders are not required to notify the airline before traveling. I mean, it is a requirement at many campgrounds, why wouldn’t it be one on a plane? After hearing about things like this happening, I hope a rule comes into play soon.

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Virginia Hall

Friday 21st of June 2013

I am appalled at the comments on this board, enough so that I am responding to a post that's over a year old. In the first place, not all sex offenders are "predators". So sad that people confuse the two, because there are over 200 crimes which will land a person on the sex offender registry - crimes that often have nothing to do with children, and sometimes, not even with another human being. Okay, second point: The reoffense rate for sex offenders is (drum roll) 1.9% as documented by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (not exactly a friend of the sex offender; they run the CA prisons). Other states have tagged reoffense at 1.2-3%. Too high! you say. Bear in mind that the only criminal with a lower reoffense rate is a murderer (who is not on a registry and could easily be next to you on a plane, at the store, etc.) The "average" criminal reoffends at over 50%, drunk drivers (who kill children) reoffend at 85%. Finally ... it is well documented that the VAST majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone within the child's own family or close social circle. Recent headlines bear that sad truth out. So, quit getting your knickers in a twist about some guy on a plane and whether former sex offenders can travel (they can. Punishment ends when sentence is served, rights are restored, even to people you don't like.) Focus on education and prevention of child abuse, because it really does start...close to home.


Friday 21st of June 2013

I am sorry that this offended you. It's hard to pause to analyze the stats when it's a "sex crime" though. I agree it's not fair to lump all people together in one group, but I do struggle with being super compassionate to anyone who is a sex offender. Regardless if they are "predators" or not, they did something to earn that title. I do believe that they should modify the laws to separate the people who dated a 17 year old when they were 18 -- or something minor like that. But, if it has anything to do with touching another human being (OR NON human being??) against their will, I have no sympathy for them.


Thursday 21st of July 2011

I seriously have chills right now-If I woke up to that, that man would be singing a high soprano if you know what I mean! NOBODY touches me without permission like that, especially a stranger and I am my mother's daughter-Loud and opinionated enough to let people know what's what!

I'm very disappointed that the situation wasn't handled stricter then how it was-This is serious business!

Thank you for sharing with everyone Jennifer.


Friday 22nd of July 2011

LOL Kayla! That's funny and I am HAPPY to hear that you are like that. Everyone deserves their personal space and anyone who invades it should get a swift kick if you ask me!

Sonya - Belly Charms

Tuesday 19th of July 2011

She should have punched him in the damn nose. I am shocked, just as I know she was. I am flying with my boys for the first time on Thursday. Great post.


Thursday 21st of July 2011

LOL! Honestly, I was surprised she didn't. She definitely did not hold back verbally, though.


Tuesday 19th of July 2011

OMG!! How disturbing! I stumbled this post :)


Tuesday 19th of July 2011

Stumbling your post! The Skinny You on FB :)

So sorry for friend, This is so scary, and it's so hard to pick out the crazy people from the "normal" one! You can never really tell... Just look at the BTK killer... Uggghhh...


Tuesday 19th of July 2011

Isn't that the truth!!! Thanks for Stumbling. :)