Did you know that you could be held accountable for the unlawful actions of another person? This can happen if there are claims that you allowed or failed to prevent circumstances that made it possible for another person to commit an offense.
For instance, recently it was reported that an American Airlines passenger allegedly molested a 13-year-old girl traveling by herself. Not only was the man sitting next to her charged with abusive sexual conduct stemming from the incident, but the airline is also facing charges for failing to adequately protect the girl.
According to reports, the man who sat next to the girl refused the option to switch seats upon learning there were others available, and evidently cursed when he sat down next to the girl. He also allegedly brushed up against the girl's shoulder repeatedly and touched her numerous times. When a flight attendant noticed the man's hand in an appropriate place and the girl crying, they were immediately separated and the man was reported to the authorities.
The airline is accused of failing to protect the girl, based on the above-mentioned "red flags" that should have been identified. However, the airline argued that it took the necessary actions once the misconduct was ultimately witnessed and identified by a flight attendant. The airline also argued that the additional fee paid by parents for unaccompanied minors is not for "bodyguard service," but for travel assistance.
This situation illustrates the complexity of acting on suspicions of someone who may be engaged in sexual misconduct. In hindsight, red flags can be very clear; but in real time, they may not be noticeable. Further, they don't always add up in the way they might after the fact. And even if you do say something or file a report, it could be argued that you did so too late. In some cases, a person who acts on suspicions that are ultimately baseless can be accused of offending or violating another person.
Still, people can face criminal charges for failing to act on something they did not see as wrong or for acting the wrong way. These can be extremely upsetting accusations that warrant vigorous defense, especially when they are in relation to sexual assault of a minor.