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California man, 51, is arrested after he ‘sexually assaulted girl under 16 on Delta flight’

A California man has been arrested after allegedly assaulting an underage girl on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Orlando.

The girl was seated separately from her mother, who was two rows ahead due to reservation issues. The accused, Brian Patrick Durning, 51, is said to have groped another woman.

He blamed his actions on Ambien.

Durning was taken into custody by federal marshals Friday after Delta Flight 2954 landed at Orlando International Airport from Los Angeles (LAX) around 7:30 a.m., according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and obtained by DailyMail .com.

The man from Altadena, California, sat in an aisle seat to the left of the minor, who is unidentified and referred to in legal files as MV (Minor Victim). She sat in a middle seat and is described as over 12 but under 16.

The girl’s mother sat two rows in front of both her daughter and Durning because of “reservation issues,” the indictment said.

After the plane took off in LA, Durning ordered a glass of white wine, according to the complaint. He had already had a few beers before boarding on June 24.

“After consuming the drink, Durning started coughing and sneezing on MV,” the legal complaint reads. “At some point, Durning started touching MV’s hair and neck. He also tried to put his arm around MV. When he did, MV tried to lean away from Durning.’

Brian Patrick Durning, 51, of Altadena, California, is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl under 18 on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Orlando last week

Brian Patrick Durning, 51, of Altadena, California, is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl under 18 on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Orlando last week

Durning, who runs a fitness company and operates as a real estate agent, public records show, “are also reaching out with his right hand. [MV’s] inside of the left thigh, moving her thigh toward him, as he called her “honey-boo.” He then began moving his hand down her left inner thigh to her groin area. Then he pushed his finger into her vagina, over her clothes. MV froze as a result of Durning’s behavior.”

The passenger who was sitting in the window seat to the girl’s left, who was named “SJ” in the charge, said she saw Durning take his hand off the victim’s inner thigh just after he woke up from a nap.

“Wake up from a nap, SJ looked to the left, toward the aisle. It was then that she saw Durning quickly pull his right hand away from the inner side of MV’s thigh. SJ asks MV, “Did he touch you?” and MV responded in the affirmative,” the complaint said. “SJ saw MV shaking and crying at that point.”

The woman then switched seats with the victim and ended up sitting in the middle between During and the girl.

Shortly afterwards, SJ During advised not to have contact with the victim because of the trauma she had to experience.

“At the time, Durning tried to touch SJ’s chest,” the indictment said. “MV’s mother says that at one point during the flight, SJ called for her attention. When MV’s mom got up and turned to where SJ, MV, and Durning were sitting, she (MV’s mom) saw MV say the words “He touched me.”

The victim’s mother, who also remains unidentified, “confronted the defendant” and noted that Durning’s pants had been unzipped at the time.

A flight attendant was called and “reassigned seat(s) to remove Durning from MV’s presence,” the complaint reads.

The flight turned out to be the last that Durning could book through Delta; the airline banned him from flying any of its planes ever again, according to the Daily Beast

After landing in Orlando, Durning was arrested and questioned about the incident.  He says he doesn't remember his actions after taking an Ambien, consuming white wine during the flight and drinking

After landing in Orlando, Durning was arrested and questioned about the incident. He says he doesn’t remember his actions after taking an Ambien, consuming white wine during the flight and drinking “one or two beers” before boarding

After the plane landed in Orlando, Durning was arrested and questioned by a federal air marshal, who wrote in the indictment that the 51-year-old had taken an Ambien pill after consuming white wine and “one or two beers.”

“Durning stated that he had fallen asleep,” the indictment said. “He stated that the next thing he remembered was someone waking him up and asking him to switch seats.”

Next, Durning faces a federal charge of sexually interacting with a minor and committing a crime aboard an operational aircraft. The federal law provides for what it calls “special aircraft jurisdiction,” allowing the government to prosecute crimes that take place on aircraft “in flight.”

He had to surrender his passport and was released on Friday pending trial.

Conditions for his release include undergoing alcohol testing and treatment, being locked up in his home between 9:00 PM and 6:30 AM, wearing “electronic surveillance equipment,” and not interacting with minors without a “responsible adult.”

“Delta will continue to cooperate with law enforcement on this matter,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durant said in an email to The Daily Beast.

“We have zero tolerance for this type of alleged behavior on our flights and at our airports and the person charged is no longer welcome to fly with Delta,” she added.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Durning’s attorney Nicole Mouakar for comment.

According to data collected by the FBI and shared by Aviation benefits

There were 119 reported cases in 2019, 84 more compared to the year before — a jump of about 30 percent. In 2014, only 38 cases were reported. In 2022, 1,542 reports of unruly passengers were filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In the same year, 1,700 incidents per 10,000 flights for the week ending June 12 were filed with the administration.

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