DETROIT (WWJ) – A Garden City woman is suing Delta Air Lines for not protecting her from another passenger who sexually assaulted her during a flight.

Headed from Myrtle Beach back to Detroit on Delta connection last summer, Rhonda Costigan says a man, who took an empty seat next to her mid-flight, molested her, putting a hand under her shorts and rubbing her bare thigh. Costigan said she frozen with terror — especially with her teenage daughter sitting in the row behind her.

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“The Plaintiff, seated in a window seat, was trapped the sexual deviant passenger and had no place to flee,” states the lawsuit, filed Friday filed by Goodman Acker on Costigan’s behalf.

[View a copy of the lawsuit]

“…The defendant told her that he ‘liked white women’ and asked ‘where’s your man?’” the suit says. Costigan claims she repeatedly told him to stop.

At a criminal sentencing for the man, 41-year-old Christopher Finkley of South Carolina — Costigan learned he was seen by flight attendants exposing himself while masturbating in first class, earlier in the flight.

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In the Sentencing Memorandum filed with the court Finkley is alleged to have told FBI agents that he likes to sit with his hands in his pants and massage his penis, and called this ‘his happy place.’ He went on to state that “he did not mean for the flight attendants to see his penis but that it is possible that they did.”

Finkley was sentenced to a week in jail after pleading guilty to simple assault. The civil suit finds fault with the crew who negligently allowed him to roam about the aircraft.

Delta, which offered Costigan $2,500 in vouchers to compensate her for what happened, said Tuesday it’s “dismayed” by what happened, but declined to comment on the lawsuit. ExpressJet Airlines, which flies as Delta Connection and is also being sued, declined comment.

The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages.

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