Serial groper convicted of groping woman who was sitting next to her husband on plane

Srinivasa Erramilli 
By: Anika Rao 

A serial groper was convicted of groping a woman, who was sitting next to her husband on an airplane, according to court proceedings.

The frequent business traveler from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, was convicted last week, of groping the passenger on the flight while sleeping in a window seat next to him.

Srinivasa Erramilli, 45, of Aurora, was convicted by a federal jury of one count of felony sex abuse, which happened during a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Chicago.

Erramilli, a software consultant, was sitting in a middle seat between the woman and her husband, as the couple returned from Las Vegas, where they celebrated their 34th anniversary, the victim testified during the three-day trial in Chicago.

The victim was awake when Erramilli touched her for the third and last time, after which when she began to scream at him and called him either "a pig" or a "pervert," she told jurors. Other passengers also testified that they heard the woman scream, "Get your hands off me!"

Jurors heard testimony that Erramilli was previously convicted and sentenced to probation after grabbing the breast of a woman on a flight to Detroit. He was sentenced to two years probation for a similar incident.

These factors and previous convictions will be considered when the U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow will sentence Erramilli. He faces two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, Randall Samborn, praised the victim for coming forward and testifying.

"Airplane passengers should be free to travel without having to be victims of this behavior," he said.