A California man was arrested after sexually assaulting a young girl during a Delta flight.
Authorities arrested 51-year-old Brian Patrick Durning when the flight from San Francisco landed at Orlando International Airport in Florida. On the flight, Durning sat in an aisle seat next to the victim, who was older than 12 but younger than 16. Her mother was not seated with her due to a reservation conflict. Not long after the flight took off, Durning ordered an alcoholic drink and began acting oddly towards the girl, coughing and sneezing on her. He then touched her hair and neck before trying to put his arm around her. The girl tried to lean away from Durning, but he persisted by touching her inner thigh and trying to position her thigh towards him before moving his hand to her private area and penetrating her “over her clothing.”
Another woman seated on the other side of Durning was asleep for much of the attack but awoke to find him quickly moving his hand away from the child, who was shaking and crying. The woman asked the victim if he’d touched her, and she replied yes.
The female passenger lashed out at Durning for scaring the girl and demanded that he swap seats. In the process, he attempted to grab the woman’s breast. She immediately notified a flight attendant. When the girl’s mother turned to see what the commotion was about, her daughter mouthed, “He touched me.” She also observed Durning’s pants were open. The flight attendant quickly made Durning change seats away from the victim.
Durning, who is from Altadena, California, claims he remembers nothing of the assault. He says he took an Ambien pill and a glass of wine, which knocked him out. Durning maintains he only remembers waking up to someone telling him to switch seats. He has been charged with committing a crime aboard an aircraft in flight and abusive sexual contact involving young children. He was released on bond and forced to surrender his passport.