A woman flying from Dubai to New York City was molested by a male passenger who rubbed lotion on her body as she slept, according to federal investigators who say the suspect told flight attendants that the victim “enjoyed it because she did not resist.”
The assault occurred Monday on a 13-hour Emirates flight, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
As detailed by a detective assigned to an NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the victim said that she fell asleep about an hour into the flight with the aid of anti-anxiety medication. The woman was seated in row 45 next to Nadeem Mehmood Quraishi, a 42-year-old Staten Island resident.
After sleeping for several hours, the woman awoke and Quraishi asked “whether she had a good nap.” At that point, the victim realized that lotion had been “spread on her arms, chest, and up her legs.” Detective Christopher Caruso added that the woman also noticed that “the hand lotion she had placed in the pocket in front of her seat was missing.”
The woman said that when walking to the bathroom “her vaginal area was sore.” She subsequently “saw that her underwear had been shifted and that lotion was in her vaginal area and on her underwear.”
Upon returning to her seat, the woman asked Quraishi where her hand lotion was. After he passed the lotion to her, she contacted crew members.
One flight attendant told investigators that she was notified by a supervisor that “the passenger was crying and trembling” in an airplane galley. The victim reported that she believed that “something happened to her while she fell asleep.”
When the flight atendants questioned Quraishi, he reportedly admitted applying lotion to the woman’s “arms, shoulders, and legs and used the lotion in her vaginal area.” Quraishi, the workers recalled, said that he thought the woman “needed it,” and that the sleeping passenger “enjoyed it because she did not resist.”
“The defendant also told the flight attendants that he liked it and that it happened to him as a child,” reported Detective Caruso.
Upon the flight’s arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Quraishi was questioned by law enforcement agents. He admitted to “inappropriately touching the passenger, that he knew it was wrong, but he did not specify how he touched the passenger,” Caruso reported.
Arrested for the alleged in-flight sex assault, Quraishi appeared yesterday in federal court, where a magistrate set his bond at $50,000. He was ordered to surrender his passport and not leave New York City without the permission of pretrial service officials.
Quraishi, who has managed a Subway sandwich shop in Staten Island, was ordered to have no contact with the victim and was directed to “seek and maintain employment as possible.”
Quraishi is pictured above in a profile photo uploaded this month to his Facebook page. He appears to be posing in an airplane galley with flight attendants.