CHICAGO (STMW) — He may be America’s creepiest airplane passenger. But serial groper Srinivasa Erramilli won’t be able to fondle any sleeping women anytime soon — he’s headed to federal prison, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Convicted for a third time in December of trying to cop a feel of a fellow passenger, the 45-year-old Aurora-based software consultant was Wednesday afternoon sentenced to nine months behind bars by U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, who said he’d violated the “fundamental human rights” of the women he groped.
In his most recent sex attack, the shameless groper targeted a Chicago-area woman as she flew back from Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines with her husband in June 2011.
He twice tried to inappropriately touch her as she slept next to him — then, unaware that she was awake and suspicious, tried to run his hand up her inner thigh.
She angrily beat him and told him, “Get your hands off me!,” calling him a “pervert” or a “pig,” several witnesses testified.
Erramilli — a married father of two — was brazen enough to try the stunt while the victim’s husband sat beside him, evidence showed. The couple had been enjoying their 34th wedding anniversary in Vegas, but the woman wanted to sleep on the flight, so took the window seat, while her husband sat on the other side of Erramilli in the aisle so he could easily use the bathroom.
But confronted by his victim, Erramilli callously claimed she’d “liked it.”
Defense attorney Ed Genson urged Lefkow to spare Erramilli prison, arguing that he has been publicly humiliated and likely faces deportation to India regardless of his sentence.
In sentencing papers filed ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, he called Erramilli “a remarkable man with unusual generosity of friendship, mentorship, and charity” who “is a devout Hindu with strong ethical and moral values.”
But prosecutors urged a sentence of nearly two years, noting Erramilli continued to prey on women after he was sentenced to probation for similar attacks on a 1999 flight from Detroit and a 2002 flight from San Jose.
They showed the judge a letter from one of Erramilli’s prior victims, who wrote that she has suffered “severe anxiety” and has trouble trusting men since being groped in 2002.
“I believe time in prison will give this man a lot to think about,” the woman wrote.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)