Delta Connection pilot accused of groping girl

Delta Connection pilot Michael James Pascal. (Image from fox13now.com)

Delta Connection pilot Michael James Pascal. (Image from fox13now.com)

An off-duty Delta Connection pilot is accused of groping a sleeping 14-year-old girl.

Fox News in Salt Lake City reports Michael James Pascal, 45, was charged with abusive sexual contact Saturday.

The girl, who was flying unaccompanied from Detroit to Salt Lake City on a Delta flight, told the flight crew she lowered the arm rest of her seat and went to sleep but woke up to find Pascal’s hand under her left buttock.

“What the hell are you doing?” she reportedly told Pascal while elbowing him.

Police met Pascal when the plane landed in Salt Lake, where the pilot is based. He was held at the Salt Lake County Jail and was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshal’s Office Tuesday.

The pilot said he fell asleep with his hands in his lap and it’s possible his hand may have fallen in the victim’s seat while he was asleep, the criminal complaint stated.

Delta Connection is a regional airline brand name for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines that typically uses smaller aircraft.

45 comments Add your comment

W.T. Francis

October 30th, 2013
8:15 am

Jeez this is a bit scary actually. Guy may be a complete pervert, but it’s not entirely out the realm of possibility that the man was just exhausted, fell asleep and his hand fell to his side and she rolled over onto it. The seats are so close together that I often have seat mates inadvertently touching me and I don’t try to get them registered as sex offenders. Another one added to the list….

Reality Check

October 30th, 2013
8:29 am

sorry, accidents like this don’t happen. Dude was getting a feel and trying to make it look accidental.

Chris

October 30th, 2013
8:34 am

This one could be iffy. I agree that it could be an accident. although with the arm rest down that is quite an angle to hold your arm, especially in the small regional jets.

W.T. Francis

October 30th, 2013
8:39 am

Not covering for the guy and chances are he did it..but all you have to do is just accuse someone nowadays and it’s game over. No proof necessary. I mean women/girls never make this stuff up right?

VFFlyer

October 30th, 2013
8:40 am

His story is complete BS.

Allthingsmoderation

October 30th, 2013
8:41 am

I do not know his intent, but criminally it is unlikely the charges will stick. If this were First Class in a jumbo jet it would be an issue. Coach class in a regional jet? Frankly I feel assaulted every time I sit in those seats. As W.T. Francis states, perhaps he is a total pervert, but our system is based on the presumption of innocence. I don’t think there is sufficient evidence for a jury to overcome the presumption of innocence.

joe

October 30th, 2013
8:52 am

How convenient…his hand just happened to work its way under her butt while he was asleep. Yep, if you believe that, I have some land in South Florida to sell you that will make a great home…if you’re an alligator.

For you bozo’s defending him, has your hand ever worked its way anywhere it wasn’t supposed to go while you were asleep? Pathetic. Quit defending the molesters…what if she was your daughter?

Anthony

October 30th, 2013
8:56 am

If his back hand touched the young lady, I would give him the benefit of the doubt. If he was palming her buttocks, that is a different story.

flyer

October 30th, 2013
9:02 am

The seat dimensions and size of some passengers makes avoiding physical contact impossible. On a recent trip, in Economy Comfort, I was seated between two overweight men. Nowhere to move, no seat available for trade – my only choice was which one was getting to second base at any moment on the 4 hour flight as their flabby upper arms spilled onto my chest. YUCK!!! Was it intentional on their part or mine? No way. ….. but sitting on someone’s hand?? can’t say that I can see that scenario happening accidentally from her part or his….

Road Scholar

October 30th, 2013
9:03 am

I wonder how much Delta charges for this “hands on” customer service?

GeoffDawg

October 30th, 2013
9:21 am

Probably is a pervert but men do get railroaded in our legal system. Just ask the Duke lacrosse team. Besides, if he was trying to cop a feel, why would he pick the most likely way to wake her up?

gary johnson

October 30th, 2013
9:31 am

Did you ready “flyer”…she can vouch the guy is a creep….so stop trying to make right out of wrong…he needs Jesus!!

Allthingsmoderation

October 30th, 2013
9:45 am

For clarity, (because I do not want to be THAT guy) I am not trying to make right of wrong or justify the man. I said there will be insufficient evidence to convict. Also, I refuse to accept the testimony of an anonymous person on a public blog who says “I knew him. He is a creep.” Any person can sign in under any name and claim any thing. All I am saying is 1) legally, this is unlikely to stick, 2) the anonymous internet testimony of someone is not sufficient to impugn a person’s character. As to personal opinion, I think it is very possible that your hand ends up in the wrong place in that situation — as in on the person next to you. However, if his hand was UNDER her butt or in her dress, then that is very different matter. Without the benefit of the police report and testimony, it is hard to say, but I still think it is unlikely that the charges will stick.

W.T. Francis

October 30th, 2013
10:11 am

Once again not saying he is innocent here, but to all you folks so quick to determine guilt based off of a 2-3 paragraph article…god help you if you are ever falsely accused, because the general public will put about as much rational thought into deciding your fate as you did for this guy. Also I could say this guy was my pilot once (he wasn’t ) and was he a real stand up guy, so he is obviously innocent…see how that works….sounds almost as stupid as I met this guy 15 years ago and thought he was a creep so he must be guilty.

Trisha Doherty

October 30th, 2013
10:17 am

I guess Delta was ready..but she wasn’t

Trisha Doherty

October 30th, 2013
10:20 am

I think he is going to be ok here..TSA immediately offered him a job when they learned of his legendary groping skills

bulldawg

October 30th, 2013
11:04 am

I don’t know about this one, I fell asleep on a long flight, had a blanket on when I went to sleep and had the guys jacket on one seat over as a blanket when I awoke. Maybe the guys hand was there first and she sat on his hand, should she get in trouble for assaulting his hand?

Bernie31

October 30th, 2013
11:05 am

I can assure this is Not the First Time. In such cases it Never is. There is a very long trail of such Acts that lie in the wake of this alleged Child Abuser.

All one needs to do is to look for the many Victims, who are very close by in proximity to him.

DrDre

October 30th, 2013
11:05 am

delta need to make their seats bigger to stop this stuff

k483

October 30th, 2013
11:09 am

I was on a long flight to Honolulu, sitting next to a Navy sailor who kept falling asleep and putting his head on my shoulder. I felt violated, but what was I to do? The whole plane was full of sailors. Should I have filed a complaint?

Andy

October 30th, 2013
11:09 am

A grand jury will sort through this and see if its worthy of court.

Bumper

October 30th, 2013
11:22 am

Based on the information provided this was most likely nothing more than an unintentional touch due to the close proximity of the seats (anyone who has flown in steerage knows how easily that can happen). No jury will convict the guy based on her word against his, but plenty of attorneys will be willing to represent him in his lawsuit.

Foxbot Alpha

October 30th, 2013
11:26 am

“I can assure this is Not the First Time.”–Bernice
(*Dumbest statement I have heard in a long time)

This shows you how low the IQ level is on these AJC blogs.

No Bernice, you cannot ASSURE us of anything. No one knows the facts yet.

Sounds like one of Obama’s Low Information voters :-)

Bernie31

October 30th, 2013
11:53 am

Foxbot Alpha @ 11:26 am – One thing I do know is this! The Pilot looks a LOT like one of the many GOD Fearing Christian Republicans, we always read in the news about them MOLESTING some unsuspecting Child within their close proximity.

Fred

October 30th, 2013
11:57 am

“How convenient…his hand just happened to work its way under her butt while he was asleep. Yep, if you believe that, I have some land in South Florida to sell you that will make a great home…if you’re an alligator. ”

I too, completely doubt this perv’s story, but…i did fall asleep on a flight and woke up with with my head resting on the lady who was sitting behind me’s foot/leg as my pillow. To this day, i have no idea how this happened.

Elizabeth Margolis

October 30th, 2013
12:00 pm

I was once on a US Airways flight from Savannah to Newark.
I slept across my seat and the next on the connecting flight from Savannah to Charlotte.
The plane filled up in Charlotte and I had a middle-aged man dressed in business attire seated next to me at some point. At this time we were not required to deplane if we were continuing on the same flight.
Continuing to sleep, I awoke mid-flight to find that my seat mate had covered my legs with his jacket and had inserted the tip of his thumb down to the first knuckle into my behind.
Not knowing what to do I pretended to awaken slowly while the man removed his hand.
I was embarrassed and unsure of what to do, and I never reported it.
Looking back, it seems like there is no way his hand could have just accidentally ended up there.

Appalled

October 30th, 2013
12:18 pm

Why did he choose to sit near an UNACCOMPANIED MINOR to take a nap? Were there no other empty seats available? Appalling!!!

MeaneyMouse

October 30th, 2013
12:58 pm

Isn’t he the brother of the guy that went out with that mob guys sister until he got whacked ^____^

Friendly Skies

October 30th, 2013
1:01 pm

Total BS. Hand on top, possible. I’ve had women fall asleep next to me on planes and I felt violated just trying to keep my space. If his hand is under her then he wanted it under her. He should be fired and registered as a pervert. Send him to jail and let him shower with the other “innocent” guys.

GeoffDawg

October 30th, 2013
1:09 pm

Appalled, when’s the last time you flew on a plane with extra empty seats?

Statistically Speaking

October 30th, 2013
1:28 pm

More than seven million girls younger that 18 give birth every year, and two million of those girls are 14 or younger.
Statistically speaking, the victim in this case was more likely to be groped while driving in traffic than on a commercial airliner.
The odds of this occurrence increase by about 200% when the victim is unaccompanied by an adult.
The highest incidence rates of groping of schoolgirls on public transit by airline pilots are in Japan, followed by China and Brazil, in that order. The United States ranks 11 out of 20 nations listed in US News and world Reports 2007 study of minors reporting groping on public transit per 1,000 population.

MrHughes

October 30th, 2013
1:34 pm

It’s really sad to see all the folks making excuses for this creep. A hand resting on top of a leg or a head resting on shoulder is different from someones hand under someone elses behind. How does you hand work your way under someones behind when you are asleep on a plane? Also, we are talking about a 14 year old girl. Most 14 year old girls aren’t quick to allege something that serious unless something pretty inappropriate actually happened. Most women smooth situations like this over because they don’t want to rock the boat, get someone in trouble, or assume bad behavior in a situation where intent is unclear. Men taking advantage of that in part is why so many sexual assaults happen. It’s safe to assume that some action of rubbing and/or squeezing is what woke her up. Moreover, the guys statement is the epitome of an admission. He said… “it’s possible his hand may have fallen in the victim’s seat while he was asleep”. That’s what he said to the police!! Guilty is heck!! He said his hand was there. Dude was testing limits to see what he could get away with. Luckily he didn’t get away with it this time. I doubt folks would be making excuses for this behavior if he had assaulted their daughter, sister, or mother. I’m glad her parents taught her that no one has a right to put their hands on you without your consent and that people should keep their hands to themselves.

GeoffDawg

October 30th, 2013
1:58 pm

MrHughes, what I find troubling is anyone’s attempt to publicly hang someone before they know all the pertinent facts. Maybe he’s guilty, maybe she shifted in her seat and rolled on top of his hand while they were both asleep. Neither you, nor I, nor anyone in cyberspace can know that. All you can do at this point is contribute to character assassination which you’re doing in spades.

Also, your argument that the guy must be guilty because a teenager wouldn’t lie is beyond laughable.

Sheriff Noose

October 30th, 2013
2:07 pm

GeoffDawg, you may not realize it, but this is actually a message board for a newspaper located at the center of one of the dumbest states in the entire country.
Did you expect people to come here and post anything other than absurd opinions based on personal notions of morality?
Do you think people never rush to judgment in their personal lives?
We don’t know either the alleged victim or the alleged culprit in this case – I mean I don’t know him personally, but he has been identified.
The idea that you are shocked by the stupid comments on this page suggests that you are new here or you have no basic understanding of human nature.
In 2013 we all anonymously state the facts as we see them. Get used to it.

MrHughes

October 30th, 2013
2:09 pm

Yea, teenagers lie about being sexually assaulted all the time.

MrHughes

October 30th, 2013
2:12 pm

“it’s “possible” his hand may have fallen in the victim’s seat while he was asleep”. Things pedophiles say to the police when they are caught for 100 Alex.

MrHughes

October 30th, 2013
2:14 pm

Dude saw an unaccompanied minor sleeping on a plane and took advantage of the situation.

Bob

October 30th, 2013
2:17 pm

Mr. Hughes, ever hear of Tawana Brawly, Al Sharpton’s first victim ?

Peggy from Acworth

October 30th, 2013
2:23 pm

Elizabeth: You are brave and I am proud of you.
Things like these can be so frightening and confusing.
I had a very similar situation at a rodeo with one of the assistants who was helping with one of our show horses.
Even to this day I can’t stand the smell of Levi Garrett tobacco.

MrHughes

October 30th, 2013
2:54 pm

Bob, one incident in 25 years where the victim clearly lived in fear of her stepfather. How exactly does that relate to an incident where a grown man admitted that he had his hands on an unaccompanied sleeping 14 year old girls behind? Attitudes like yours that insinuate women are liars are the reason so many victims refuse to come forward; moreover, it’s why so many perpetrators move in dangerous ways without ever being held accountable. For every Tawana Brawly there are ten’s of thousands of women that don’t come forward because of excuses like yours.Statistics show that one of five adolescent girls experience sexual violence during their dating years. Statistics also show that one of six women experience a rape or an attempted rape during their lifetimes – it should be noted that sexual assaults often grossly under-reported. Thanks for encouraging criminality and rape culture Bob. Maybe for your next post you can speculate about what she was wearing and why that excused him touching her like he’s already admitted to doing. Maybe we should tell girls not to sleep on planes instead of telling grown men that touching women and girls inappropriately and without their consent is never okay.

GeoffDawg

October 30th, 2013
3:01 pm

Who says I’m shocked Sheriff? This aint my first rodeo and self-important yet naive windbags like MrHughes are nothing new. I’ll disagree with you though that this is the dumbest state in the union. I’ve been all over the country and everyone has their fair share of idiots to deal with.

MrHughes

October 30th, 2013
3:33 pm

“maybe she shifted in her seat and rolled on top of his hand while they were both asleep”… Things pedophiles say for $300 Alex. I wouldn’t insult anyones intelligence after some foolishness like that. I don’t have lots of experience with people sitting on my hands, but I would imagine that action would wake someone up. I’ve slept soundly on more of my fair share of planes and have never had/seen anything remotely like that happen. Too bad that is not the excuse he told the police because that would have been rich.:) What amazes me is that we have a very courageous woman who came on here to share her story. I’m noticing you are not calling her a liar. Maybe the pedophile next to her was trying to find a new career opportunity as a colon cancer screener. That would be things pedophiles would say for $200…

Sheriff Noose

October 30th, 2013
3:35 pm

No, seriously, it is statistically one of the dumbest.
I mean, you have the word “Dawg” in your name, and your comments aren’t even close to being the dumbest on here.
Most people read the story, saw that the girl was traveling from Detroit, surmised that she was black, saw pilot’s photo, and decided it was appropriate to make a Tawana Brawly reference.
Honestly, it really doesn’t get any dumber than that.

Mom

October 30th, 2013
3:54 pm

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57061618-78/complaint-pascal-girl-seat.html.csp

The arm rest was down when she fell asleep. The arm rest was up and his hand under her bottom and he was leaning on her. “Pascal told police that he lifted the armrest because the male passenger in the aisle seat was taking some of the space, and that the girl was not taking up as much in hers, according to the complaint. He added that he fell asleep with his hands in his lap and did not recall where they were when he woke up, but said it was possible his hand fell into the girl’s seat while he was asleep, the complaint adds.”

Trisha Doherty

October 30th, 2013
4:59 pm

Well if a Terrorist Bomber (Bill Ayers) can be mentor and friend to the US president, why can’t a sexual predator be a pilot for a sh*tty commuter airline?