Boston: An Indian American doctor from Boston was found not guilty of committing lewd acts next to a teenage girl on a plane.
Dr Sudipta Mohanty was freed from the charges after a three-day trial in Boston federal court. The 33-year-old's attorneys revealed that nobody among the cabin crew or the passengers sitting next to Mohanty saw anything unlawful going on.
According to reports, Mohanty said that “the accusation and trial have been incredibly difficult for himself and his family for a crime he didn't commit. “My fiancé was sitting next to me on that flight, and neither of us can understand why this happened to us,” he revealed in a statement.
Mohanty, who had been indicted on one count of lewd, indecent, and obscene acts on an aircraft, opted for a bench trial. This means his acquittal was handed down by a judge rather than a jury. “I have dedicated my life to caring for others as a physician, and it has been heartbreaking to step away while I dealt with these false accusations,” his statement added.
The alleged incident took place in May 2022 when Mohanty was aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Boston from Honolulu. He was accompanied by a female companion. The 14-year-old girl who accused Mohanty of performing obscene acts while she was seated next to him was travelling along with her grandparents.
Midway through the flight, the girl alleged that she saw Mohanty's leg bouncing underneath a blanket, which covered him up to his neck, the investigators said. She further claimed that after some time, the blanket fell on the floor, and she saw that Mohanty was masturbating. Following the alleged events, the minor shifted to an empty seat in a different row, the prosecutors added. After the flight landed in Boston, the girl narrated the alleged incident to her family members, following which, the police were notified.
US attorney Joshua Levy expressed his disappointment over the verdict, however, he said that he respects the court's judgment.