A 52-year-old man from California will spend five years behind bars for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl during a Delta flight to Orlando.
Brian Patrick Durning, of Altadena, was sentenced to five years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger of the Middle District of Florida this week for assaulting the girl during a flight that took place last year.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Durning boarded the redeye flight from Los Angeles to Orlando at 11:36 PST on Thursday, June 23, 2022.
Durning was seated in an aisle seat next to the girl, who had been separated from the rest of her family and was sitting in the middle seat.
After the flight departed Los Angeles, Durning ordered and consumed an alcoholic drink before coughing and sneezing on the teen. At some point thereafter, Durning began to touch the victim’s hair and neck, and tried to put his arm around the girl.
Durning then reached over with his right hand to touch the girl’s inner left thigh, moving her thigh toward him and calling her “honey-boo.” At that point, he moved his hand up her inner thigh, toward her groin area, and pushed his “finger into her vagina, over her clothing,” according to the original arrest affidavit.
After the assault, a female passenger seated in the window seat next to the victim woke up and saw Durning quickly move his right hand away from the victim’s inner thigh.
The woman asked the girl if Durning had touched her and, upon answering in the affirmative, the girl began shaking and crying. The woman offered to switch seats with the girl before calling for a flight attendant to notify the girl’s mother.
While alerting the mother, the woman told Durning not to talk to the girl. At that point, Durning attempted to touch the female passenger’s breasts.
The girl’s mother says she looked back after being called upon and saw the victim mouth the words “he touched me.” At that time, the mother stood up, exited her seat, and confronted Durning. When she arrived at Durning’s seat, she noticed that his pants were unzipped.
During an interview, Durning told authorities that he had “one to two beers” in the airport before boarding the flight to Los Angeles, and consumed an Ambien pill and one glass of white wine during the flight.
Durning told police that he fell asleep and stated that the next thing he remembered was someone waking him up and asking him to switch seats.
This past June, a federal jury convicted Durning of assault of a minor on an aircraft and two counts of simple assault. The conviction came almost exactly one year after the incident took place on a flight bound for the Orlando International Airport. Following his release, Durning will be subjected to three years of supervised release.