Man convicted of abusive sexual contact on flight bound for Myrtle Beach

Man convicted of abusive sexual contact on flight bound for Myrtle Beach
Siva K. Durbesula (Source: U.S. Attorney's Office)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A federal jury has convicted a man of sexually assaulting a woman onboard a flight bound for Myrtle Beach, prosecutors announced Thursday.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, 28-year-old Siva K. Durbesula, of India, was convicted by a jury in Asheville of abusive sexual contact aboard an airplane in a jointly-prosecuted case that began in South Carolina and culminated in North Carolina.

Prosecutors said Durbesula was a passenger aboard a Spirit Airlines flight from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Myrtle Beach International Airport on June 23, 2019 when he sexually assaulted the woman sitting next to him.

During the trial, another woman testified that on March 21, 2019, Durbesula touched her inappropriately while aboard a subway train in New York City, a press release stated. She recorded the defendant on her cellphone exiting the train after the assault. That video was admitted into evidence.

Originally indicted in S.C., the case was transferred to N.C. for trial. Durbesula agreed that the plane traveled over N.C. and venue was appropriate in that state, prosecutors said.

“Every person deserves to feel safe when they travel, and that someone would violate that safety through sexual assault is reprehensible. Those who engage in this type of behavior will be prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Peter McCoy.

Durbesula is currently in custody awaiting sentencing. The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in federal prison and he faces deportation, the press release stated.

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