A pilot for Alaska Airlines has sued the carrier after alleging that an airline captain drugged and raped her during a layover between flights. The pilot said after the alleged assault, she reported the incident, but was told by officials at the airline to keep quiet about it.
Betty Pina, who is also a former military pilot, filed the lawsuit this week and appeared Friday morning alongside her lawyer on Good Morning America, where she recounted the startling allegations against her Alaska Airlines co-pilot, Paul Engelien, who was the flight captain when the alleged assault occurred.
Pina, 39, said she and Engelien had been assigned to a three-day flight itinerary and, while they were at a hotel during layover in Minneapolis, she said Engelien, 50, invited her for a drink at a lounge.
“I trusted my captain,” Pina said. “We had a lot in common. He was military and he has foster kids and I was a foster kid and so I didn’t see any threats.”
Once there, Pina said she enjoyed a glass of wine alongside her captain. But just a couple of sips into her second glass, which he bought her, according to the lawsuit, she began “having a hard time keeping her head up and things appeared to be closing in.” She told The Seattle Times that something about the wine tasted off.
Pina said she then blacked out, waking just briefly enough to notice she was “being pulled on her right ankle.” Her next memory is waking up on the bed in Engelien’s, which was covered in vomit, Disoriented and naked from the waist down, she spotted her black purse on the bedside table and reached for it hoping to find her phone. Instead, she made a troubling discovery in the purse. Her underwear had been rolled up and stashed inside.
“Why would I put my underwear in my purse? I’ve never done anything like that,” Pina said on GMA. “That to me seemed like he did that. He wanted to clean it up or obviously this was very calculated, it’s very orchestrated.” She said when she confronted Engelien about what had happened he denied that that any sexual contact occurred between them — but accused her of “coming on to me pretty hard.”
She reported the incident to her union representative and a human resources official at Alaska Airlines, but said she was told to keep quiet about the allegations. She did not report the incident to police. Meanwhile, no action was taken against Engelien.
Since the lawsuit was filed, however, Engelien has been suspended by the airline. He didn’t reply to ABC News’ request for comment. Pina said she’s speaking out because she’s been empowered by the #MeToo movement and that she believes the problem of sexual misconduct is widespread but unaddressed in the airline business.
“I believe that this is an under-reported, swept-under-the-rug, not-dealt-with issue in our industry,” Pina said. “It’s not just our airline.”
Watch the full interview with her below.
An Alaska Airlines pilot who is suing her employer, claiming that she was drugged and raped by her co-pilot during a layover, said she believes that what happened to her is an industry-wide issue that is often "swept under the rug." https://t.co/F1EQS1yD1O pic.twitter.com/FrrIF2ppbz
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 16, 2018
Read the full story at Yahoo News.