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Australian Woman Convicted at Trial of Assault and Interference with Crew on Flight That Landed at Los Angeles International Airport


LOS ANGELES – An Australian woman who assaulted a flight attendant during a United Airlines flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles International Airport earlier this year has been found guilty of federal charges.

USA v Adau Akui Atem Mornya… by on Scribd

Adau Akui Atem Mornyang, 24, of Victoria, Australia, was convicted on Thursday in relation to a January 21 incident in which she appeared to be intoxicated and was verbally and physically abusive to personnel and other passengers during the flight. The jury found Mornyang guilty of a felony charge of interference with a flight crew and a misdemeanor assault count.

According to the evidence presented at trial, several hours into the flight, passengers approached a flight attendant to complain about Mornyang’s disruptive behavior, which included flailing her arms and yelling obscenities and racial slurs.

When the flight attendant approached to assess the situation, Mornyang began to shout at the flight attendant and then slapped him across his face. The flight attendant attempted to restrain Mornyang until federal air marshals could assist. The federal air marshals were forced to stay with Mornyang in the rear galley of the plane for the remainder of the flight. 

Mornyang is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24 by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney. As a result of the guilty verdicts returned on March 14, Mornyang faces a statutory maximum sentence of 21 years in federal prison.  Adau Akui Atem Mornyang will be sentenced on June 24, 2019

This case was investigated by the FBI, which received assistance from the Federal Air Marshals and the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.

The case against Mornyang is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys MiRi Song and Kevin Reidy of the General Crimes Section.

It is a natural question to wonder what made this drunken event such a serious legal and international matter. Apparently, when anyone interferes with an FAM (Federal Air Marshal) during the carrying out of the FAM’s normal course of work, one is not only endangering the FAM but the ability for that FAM to protect the lives or safety of other passengers.

The drunken incident was bad enough because the FAM could not conduct his duties because he had to focus on being Mornyang’s caretaker (ensuring she did not hurt herself or other passengers). The incident however escalated to a serious violent Federal Offense when the drunken Mornyang kicked the FAM in the chest with her foot (backed by the strength of her entire leg) and knocked the wind out of the FAM’s chest.

At that moment Mornyang’s battery disabled the FAM from conducting any duties. At that point Mornyang had endangered the lives and safety of other passengers and crew because the FAM was unable to conduct his duties. Interfering with a flight crew member’s ability to do his or her job is bad enough but to physically disable a FAM falls under Federal Maritime Law.

Mornyang’s sentencing is scheduled for June 24, 2019 by District Judge Cormac J. Carney. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 21 years in federal prison.



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D. S March 28, 2019 - 7:21 am

Unfortunately, air travel has become frustrating. Long waits, crowded seating. And people become unhinged when a flight is delayed, etc. Add alcohol to the discomfort and passengers blame the flight crew. Sad situation. This woman acted out her frustration and the price she is going to pay for it is extreme. She needs another lawyer.

admin March 29, 2019 - 12:26 am

The flight wasn’t long. It’s a geographical reality that it takes that amount of time to fly from Australia to Los Angeles. Her difficulty stems from drinking too much liquor. When you have “a” drink on a flight, its affect on the brain is as though you’ve had 3 drinks. Many people put themselves in horrid situations by drinking. Frankly, airlines should serve weed instead of liquor.

Syndicated News
Syndicated News September 12, 2019 - 7:14 pm

The only solution then would be to have a psychiatrist onboard every flight to rule out drinking from mental illness. I doubt airlines are going to do this.

D.S. March 31, 2019 - 11:51 am

After reading this story, I gave it some thought and came up with these conclusions regarding airline rules, the flight crew and the logical and emotional expectations of airline passengers, in general:
People must give up total control to a stranger – a pilot who hopefully is well trained, sober, and steady. Giving up control for most is difficult – that’s the main cause of anxiety and fear of flying. It is essential that passengers place all their faith in the pilot and crew. They anticipate that they will be flown to their destination safely and on time. After all, flights are scheduled, passengers must arrive at the airport on time, they must go through the mandatory security checks. Their flights have estimated departure and arrival times printed on the tickets. Waiting around the airport, stress begins to build. Will they reach their destination on time? Will they miss their connecting flight (if they have one)? They have a drink in the Airport Lounge.
Finally, they are herded onto the fully booked plane, only to discover there’s a crying infant in the next row. And you are intoxicated.
What does the passenger do with his or her suppressed anxiety and fear? It turns to anger. Who is the passenger angry at? The stranger(s) the passenger gave up control to.
When anger is out-of-control but is verbal, other passengers who experienced the frustration, may join in. Others may be irritated even more by having to witness the rage. Some may be frightened the words will escalate into action. And if the anger does become physical, then everyone is endangered, and Air Safety Rules must be imposed.

That brings me to some questions. 1. Will charging an intoxicated verbally abusive/physically aggressive female passenger with crimes and misdemeanors that will get her a very long jail sentence, set an example that will prevent other passengers from losing it while on an emotionally stressful flight?
2. Is a lengthy jail sentence overly punitive considering nobody was physically hurt?
3. Wouldn’t it be to everyone’s advantage for the airline crew to be more sympathetic to the emotional stress of their passengers and learned how to deal with it in a way that calms the situation rather than inflames it?
Now, in terms of the intoxicated, verbally abusive/physically aggressive female passenger … she violated Airline rules and physically assaulted a crew member. She must take responsibility for her behavior and pay a penalty. Years of imprisonment – NO! Overly punitive. Her being in prison won’t prevent another passenger from losing control during a stressful flight. A monetary fine, an apology, some community service, an anger management course, and a 5-year ban from flying that airline would be a lot more beneficial.


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