Family of Disabled Child Who Was Sexually Assaulted on Delta Flight Now Filed a Civil Suit

by Anthony Losanno
Delta 737

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Back on June 23, 2022, a 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on Delta Air Lines redeye flight DL2954 between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) by a 52-year-old passenger. He went to trial and was sentenced to five years in federal prison, but now the family has filed a civil suit naming Delta and him for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Brian Patrick Durning (52 of Altadena, CA) was sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for assaulting a minor on the aircraft. A federal jury found Durning guilty on June 22, 2023 and he is currently serving his sentence. The new civil suit alleges that the victim now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, panic attacks, frequent nausea, and a fear of flying.

Delta A321

The family was en route to Florida to visit the girl’s grandparents. The family was unable to sit together and the girl was seated two rows behind her mother and brother. Durning was allegedly intoxicated when he boarded the plane and “reeked of alcohol.” Despite this, flight attendants continued to serve the man for the first two hours of the flight. The cabin lights were dimmed and the man repeatedly groped her breasts and genitals. The girl suffers from selective mutism. This made her unable to cry out for help. A woman seated on the other side of the victim woke up and noticed what was happening.

Flight attendants moved Durning two rows in front of the victim and he repeatedly turned around to “leer” at her. He also walked through the cabin grabbing his own genitals as he passed her row. The family questioned why flight attendants did not restrain him or have the captain divert the flight. Law enforcement was never called and he continued to harass the family as he collected his carry-on bags. The civil case is currently filed in a Los Angeles district court.

Anthony’s Take: What a horrible ordeal. It’s good that this man is serving a prison sentence. Shame on the flight crew for not taking more serious measures. Hopefully, the victim is able to find some peace.

(Featured Image Credit: Delta Air Lines.)

(H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo.)

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Christian March 24, 2024 - 4:21 pm

There are definitely some things that are unclear in this case: Did the parents just not feel like paying for seats together? Did the parents simply choose to leave their 13 year old girl next to a strange man reeking of alcohol? Did the parents check on the child?

I think the guy deserves every bit of the five years in prison he was sentenced to and I think that a hard look needs to be taken at the parents behavior as well, particularly since they’re suing Delta for a situation they might have prevented with care or forsesight. Did it really seem like a good idea for the mother to leave a vulnerable child who is literally unable to call for help sitting by herself? That can’t be passed off as Delta’s fault.

derek March 24, 2024 - 8:23 pm

If the child is mute, the mother should have sit with her. Just switch seats with the brother, who was sitting next to the mother. Mother is an idiot.


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