A former senior Qantas flight attendant is accused of exposing himself to a female colleague and touching her breasts during a flight, but he claims he had her consent…
The claims against a former Qantas flight attendant
A 54-year-old former Qantas flight attendant is currently standing trial for committing two indecent acts during an April 2019 flight from Perth to Melbourne. Long story short, the 54-year-old man (who was the economy cabin supervisor) touched the breasts of a 21-year-old female colleague, and then exposed himself to her.
This whole incident happened while the two flight attendants were on a break in the back of the plane, in an area that had a curtain around it. The man’s side of the story is as follows:
- While the two were on a break, the 21-year-old flight attendant asked him about some of his experiences during his 23 years as a flight attendant, and she called him “a naughty boy” and asked if he had joined the mile high club, so he thought she was coming onto him
- The man started talking about how he had hooked up with crew members, and told her a story of how he hooked up with a female colleague with large breasts
- At that point he asked if he could touch her breasts, so he did that, and as he did so, he asked if her breasts were real, to which she responded that they were
- The man then said something about his genitals, before asking the woman if she wanted to see — at that point he “quickly undid [his] fly and exposed [his] penis for half a second and put it back in”
- She left the crew rest area shortly thereafter, and he said she “seemed fine,” and he even later made her a cup of peppermint tea
- The woman claims that the man asked her not to tell anyone about what happened, but he denies that
Again, the above is all the senior flight attendant’s version of events, so that’s only one side of the story.
Man claims chemical imbalance & consent
The man is defending himself by making a few claims:
- He had a chemical imbalance that caused this — “I had a chemical imbalance in my head and I put my hand around her shoulder and touched her left breast”
- He had her consent, and that she was the one who turned their conversation into an adult one, based on her questions and comments
- He simply “went along with it,” and “unfortunately it got out of hand”
If found guilty, the man could be facing up to seven years in jail.
A few things stand out to me about this story:
- The man should have known better here on so many levels — he was in a position of power over his colleague (in terms of his role, his age, etc.), he shouldn’t equate someone not actively saying “no” to consent, and he shouldn’t assume that someone is okay with sexual contact just because they were open to talking about something
- Regardless of whether or not the man had consent, this is an outrageously unprofessional way to be acting during a flight
- His defense is all over the place — was this due to a chemical imbalance, or is he sticking to his story that he had consent and he basically just went along with it?
Lastly, while this is by no means in any way a defense of what happened, the reality is that at a lot of airlines there’s a lot of funny business going on during layovers. For the most part this seems to fly under the radar more that it would at other workplaces, especially given that employees have layovers together, there are many cases where there’s consent, etc.
Still, sometimes I’m surprised there aren’t more cases like this where police reports end up being filed. After all, for all the wrong reasons “consent” can be a slippery slope when we’re talking about flight attendants having different ranks, when there’s alcohol involved, etc.
A former Qantas flight attendant is standing trial for what happened on an April 2019 flight, where he touched a colleague’s breasts and exposed himself to her. He claims he had a chemical imbalance, but also that he had her consent, seemingly based on her lack of actively stopping him.
I’ll be curious to see what comes of this trial.