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Off-duty Delta pilot found guilty of sexual abuse on airplane

Published March 28, 2014 3:29 pm

Courts • Former Delta Connection pilot Michael Pascal convicted of abusing girl, 14.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A jury has convicted a man who was a Delta Connection pilot at the time of two counts of abusive sexual contact for touching a 14-year-old girl on an airplane.

Michael Pascal, 45, was found guilty this week after a three-day trial in federal court. According to the complaint, Pascal was commuting from Detroit to Salt Lake City in October when he was seated in a middle seat next to a 14-year-old girl in the window seat. The girl was curled up in the seat during the flight when she awoke from a nap to feel Pascal touching her buttocks.

The girl got up and alerted a flight attendant, who moved Pascal to another seat and called airport police in Salt Lake City.

Pascal told police he lifted the armrest between himself and the girl because the man in the aisle seat was crowding his space and the girl was not taking much of her space. He said he fell asleep with his hands in his lap, but his hand may have fallen to the girl's seat.

The victim said Pascal was "clearly awake" and putting some of his body weight on her.

After the trial, the jury began deliberating at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and returned the guilty verdicts early Thursday afternoon.

Pascal will be sentenced July 29.

ealberty@sltrib.com

Twitter: @erinalberty