An anonymous NFL player has sued United Airlines claiming he was sexually assaulted by a woman during a February flight, and alleges airline employees could have prevented the incident from happening if it had happened sooner, according to a recent lawsuit.
Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion reported the news on Wednesday that the professional football player and a second man, both of whom chose not to be identified in the lawsuit, were aboard a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey when the woman repeatedly made “unwanted sexual advances.”
“The flight attendants did not move her until the 4th complaint, when the woman grabbed his penis & ripped off his protective face mask,” Tesfatsion wrote in one tweet.
A United Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business customers' safety and wellbeing is their "top priority."
"In this instance, the customer involved was moved to a different seat," the spokesperson said in a statement. "Because litigation is now pending, we’re unable to provide further comment."
In a statement provided to FOX Business, attorneys Darren Darwish and Benji Azizian who represent the victims, said they hope this lawsuit “will be one of the last of its kind.”
“Our wish would be that in the future no passengers’ multiple warnings and complaints to flight attendants, the onboard authority figures, will go unheaded until it’s too late and the damage has been done,” the statement reads.
The woman, who appeared "disheveled and unbalanced," was seated in the economy plus section next to the athlete and in the same row as the other person suing, the lawsuit states. Less than 30 minutes into the flight, the pair saw her taking prescription pills, which she later admitted.
The series of unwanted advances against the man began when she started “massaging” his legs.
“Fearful of the perception of being a male victim and the racial stigma of being a young African American male, John Doe 1 patiently pleaded for assailant to stop and removed her hand,” the lawsuit states, according to suit.
But she then began “grabbing and groping his quads and then stroking her hand across his lap towards the inside of his leg near his genitals,” court papers state.
She moved on to the other male victim, allegedly fondling his "groin area" and his leg.
The woman was ultimately moved to a different area of the plane, but attorneys for the victim say the action was not taken soon enough.
"This matter is unfortunately based on several instances of assault -- physical, sexual, and verbal -- on a "red-eye United Airlines, Inc. flight," the attorneys said in their statement. "Instances that could have been prevented, if not the harm reduced, had United's personnel simply take action sooner."
This report was updated to include a statement from a United Airlines spokesperson.