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Off-duty pilot convicted of groping girl on flight

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:03 p.m. HST, Mar 29, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY >> An airline pilot was convicted this week of two counts of abusive sexual contact for groping a 14-year-old girl while he was a passenger on a flight from Detroit to Salt Lake City last year.

Michael Pascal, who has homes in Park City, Utah, and Texas, was found guilty Thursday by a jury after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

The girl told investigators that she woke up from a nap on an Oct. 26 Delta Airlines flight and found Pascal's hand under her, gripping her buttocks. She was sitting next to a window, and Pascal was in the middle seat.

Pascal, 45, who worked at the time as a pilot for a regional airline carrier that contracts with Delta, told investigators he fell asleep with his hands in his lap and doesn't know how one ended up underneath the girl.

He's scheduled to be sentenced July 29 and could face up to five years in prison.

The girl told authorities she elbowed Pascal after waking up with his hand underneath her and said, "What the hell are you doing?" court documents show.

She says Pascal pulled his hand out from under her and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I was asleep, I have to use the bathroom."

She said the armrest that she had pushed down was in the upright position. Pascal said he pulled up the armrest between him and the girl because the man on the other side of him was taking up a lot of room, according to documents.

The girl, who was flying alone, told flight attendants what happened and changed seats. She maintained Pascal was "clearly awake" and put some of his body on her.

Pascal's attorney, Rhome Zabriskie, has said his client was in shock about being charged. He has a teenage daughter of his own, Zabriskie said, and any touching that occurred was inadvertent.

It took the jury a couple of hours to reach the verdict.

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handsomeguy wrote:
Interesting how a kid can make a charge against an adult and destroy his life.
on March 29,2014 | 02:46PM
Jerry_D wrote:
I hear what you're saying, and I agree.
on March 29,2014 | 02:58PM
joseph007 wrote:
You both sound like defense lawyers. Blame the victim. Dirty the victim. Deny, deny, deny. Why how could my client ever do such a thing! What reason would he have? Etc., etc, etc. Wish these things would happen to a lawyers kids.
on March 30,2014 | 08:41AM
FrankieT wrote:
Did you two read the article? I don't think so, He was tried and found guilty, From what both of you have said leads to you think the girl is making this up. Both of you need sexual harassment training.
on March 29,2014 | 03:51PM
inverse wrote:
Like frankieT stated this man was tried in a court of law, evidence was presented on BOTH sides and the jury found this guy guilty. What info do you have this guy was not given a FAIR trial who was judged by his peers? What is so surprising about per vs on an airplane who abuse young woman or even girls as there was a former Hawaii State legislature or worker(can't remember his name) who was found guilty of doing something similar on an airplane.
on March 29,2014 | 05:40PM
bumbye wrote:
This isn't really a He Said/She Said case. He didn't deny his hand was under her because he said he didn't know how it got there. I give him that much credit.
on March 29,2014 | 11:19PM
Tony96822 wrote:
Wait, little confusing. Who is Laudermilk and what does it have to do with Pascual?
on March 29,2014 | 06:21PM
808comp wrote:
Good question.
on March 30,2014 | 03:57AM
Dimbulb wrote:
"Pascal, 45" Really? He looks 145. He really appears to be an old critter.
on March 30,2014 | 04:22AM
inHilo wrote:
Yes, I think the page editor cross wired the stories. Looks like two different guys. Didn't notice it until they said Pascal was 45.
on March 30,2014 | 07:06AM
serious wrote:
If he's 45 and still flies regionals-that will age you--the pilots are either brand new or has-beens unable to graduate to the "majors".
on March 30,2014 | 09:24AM
Sandybeach wrote:
Charged, tried and convicted. Now he will be inadvertently sentenced. By the way, kids can be victims. Don't blame the victim, goodness.
on March 30,2014 | 06:30AM
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