Flight Attendant Stories

GROPING WORLD-WIDE

Meet Iurii Chumak.

The 53-year-old was recently arrested after allegedly groping a flight attendant while onboard a British Airways flight traveling from London to New York on April 28, 2011. Chumak, seen in the mug shot on the left, was photographed by the United States Marshals Service after being forcibly de-planed in handcuffs.

According to The Smoking Gun, Chumak placed his hand up the flight attendant’s skirt and “grabbed her genital area” when she bent over to pour coffee for another passenger and “began to run his fingers back and forth”. Although the incident was witnessed by a second flight attendant, who immediately placed him in restraints, Chumak maintained that he had simply been “drinking on the airplane, fell asleep, and woke up in restraints.” The second attendant told the FBI that a male passenger had previously complained that Chumak–drinking from a bottle of Dewar’s–had “bothered and verbally abused” his wife.

Since his bust, Chumak has been locked up at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He was named last week in a misdemeanor criminal information charging him in connection with the in-flight April 28 incident (the filing of an information–in lieu of a grand jury presentment by federal prosecutors–often indicates that a defendant is negotiating a guilty plea).

Chumak’s lawyer, Sergei Orel, declined on May 31 to comment about his client’s case.

THINGS LIKE THIS MUST BE GOING AROUND… 

On March 27, 2011 another groping incident happened but this time on Delta Airlines Flight 269.  

An Israeli rabbi flying to New York from Tel Aviv allegedly twice fondled a female passenger as she slept, and when the woman angrily confronted him, he claimed, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to federal court records.

About 90 minutes into the 12-hour flight, rabbi Bidany allegedly reached over to the sleeping woman seated next to him and “placed his hand under her blanket, on her groin, and was groping her genital area.” When the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe” in the complaint, “jumped back,” Bidany “quickly removed his hand from her groin.”

The woman told the FBI that she then “pulled her blanket back over her head and body.” But minutes later, Bidany allegedly again “reached under the passenger’s blanket, this time groping the passenger’s breasts.” “What are you doing, stop touching me,” she told Bidany.

He replied, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to FBI agent Ambrisco. The female passenger “then left her seat to advise the flight crew of the incident.” Delta personnel confirmed to the FBI that the passenger had reported the inappropriate touching to them, and one crew member described the woman as “visibly shaken and frantic.”

Saul Bienenfeld, Bidany’s lawyer, declined recently to discuss the case against his client, but said that the rabbi “asserts his total innocence” and states that the alleged sexual contact “never occurred.”

Following his arrest, Bidany posted $250,000 bond and was ordered to surrender his passport and limit his travels to the New York City metropolitan area. At his April 5 arraignment, the Orthodox rabbi sought permission to return to Israel, though that request was denied by a magistrate judge.  Later, Bidany bail was modified and he was allowed to travel to Israel from April 14 to May 1 for the Passover holiday. He had also recently learned his father was gravely ill.  Bidany’s bond was increased to $500,000.  His trail was scheduled for May 4. 

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