CHICAGO (AP) — A judge sentenced a business traveler from suburban Chicago to nine months in prison Wednesday for groping a passenger in flight while she slept in a seat next to him. The victim told reporters later she wished the punishment could have been harsher.
The woman and her husband were returning to Chicago after celebrating their 34th anniversary in Las Vegas two years ago when Srinivasa Erramilli, now 46, sat between the couple and later began touching her, the woman testified at trial last year.
As she imposed the Aurora man's sentence, which included banning him from commercial air travel for a year after his release, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow praised the victim for pressing charges.
"She was standing up for herself and other women who were subject to this kind of thing," Lefkow told the Chicago courtroom.
Minutes earlier, the victim herself read a brief statement in court, saying she still feels traumatized memories of the incident. Later, she told reporters she wished a harsher sentence had been available. Guidelines called for a maximum sentence of 16 months.
"I would have chopped off his hands," she said.
Erramilli, a software company owner, showed little emotion as the sentence was imposed or when his victim spoke. He declined to make a statement before sentencing.
Defense attorney Edward Genson decried his client's behavior on the plane, but said he was an otherwise good, kind-hearted man.
"We have two Mr. Erramillis," he said. "Mr. Erramilli is not just the man on the plane that day."
Officially Licensed Sports Gear! Shop 1000's of NFL Team Products.