Oregon woman who licked, groped, and propositioned teenage passenger gets 8 months home detention

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 8:20am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 2:08pm

An Oregon woman who licked, groped, verbally harassed then propositioned a female teen passenger during a flight from Las Vegas to Portland was sentenced Monday to eight months of home detention.

Heidi McKinney, 27, of Banks declined to make a statement during Monday’s sentencing at the federal courthouse in Portland, The Oregonian reported. McKinney, who wrote a letter of apology to the victim, pleaded guilty in March to assault with intent to commit a felony.

In addition to home detention, McKinney was sentenced to three years on probation. She must also pay US$3,000 restitution and abstain from alcohol.

McKinney was arrested May 8, 2016, after the Alaska Airlines flight landed at Portland International Airport. The 19-year-old victim told authorities she had been touched without consent.

Assistant US Attorney Ravi Sinha wrote in a sentencing memo last week that the prolonged abuse started before the plane departed. Sinha said McKinney, who appeared to have been drinking, tried to speak with the young woman, but the victim was reluctant.

The prosecutor said it was “partly because the way in which Ms McKinney had inappropriately touched the victim’s chest, and partly because Ms McKinney’s ‘small talk’ consisted of repeatedly insulting the victim’s perceived economic status and bragging of her own purported wealth.”

When the plane took off, things got worse, with the victim at one point putting a hat over face to avoid McKinney.

But McKinney persisted.

Sinha said McKinney tried to pressure the woman into drinking alcohol she had smuggled on the plane, and subjected her to lewd taunts and physical aggression. He said McKinney licked the victim’s ear, forced her to touch her breasts and repeatedly placed her hand on the victim’s crotch.

“Eventually – and in spite of the victim’s repeated pleas for Ms. McKinney to stop – the abuse culminated with Ms McKinney climbing on top of the victim and telling the victim she wanted to [expletive],” Sinha wrote.

At that point, the victim asked the flight crew to be seated elsewhere.

Though Sinha described McKinney’s behaviour as shocking, he recommended a sentence with a focus on treatment.

McKinney admitted herself to an inpatient treatment centre in April after she was found unconscious at a local bar, the sentencing memo states.