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Alaska Airlines FO Alleges Rape by Captain on MSP Layover

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Alaska Airlines FO Alleges Rape by Captain on MSP Layover

Old 14th Mar 2018, 21:30
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Alaska Airlines FO Alleges Rape by Captain on MSP Layover

In the #Me Too era, yet another serious claim of past sexual assault surfaces in the news.

Alaska Airlines female co-pilot claims male pilot drugged and raped her
By Janine Puhak | Fox News

A Seattle-based pilot employed by Alaska Airlines has filed a lawsuit against the airline, claiming that her male aircraft captain drugged and raped her during a June 2017 work trip.

Betty Pina, a former military helicopter pilot who flew combat missions in Afghanistan, told KIRO 7 that during an overnight stay in Minneapolis, the pilot spiked her wine with an unknown substance and she woke up in his bedroom.

Pina said her attacker is still a pilot for Alaska Airlines and that she wants him fired.
Alaska Airlines female co-pilot claims male pilot drugged and raped her | Fox News

Co-pilot sues Alaska Airlines, says pilot drugged and raped her
by KOMO StaffWednesday, March 14th 2018

SEATTLE - A co-pilot for Alaska Airlines is suing the company, saying it failed to take appropriate action after she reported she had been drugged and raped by an Alaska Airlines pilot during a layover last year.

The co-pilot, Betty Pina, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in King County Superior Court under Washington state's anti-discrimination statute.

The suit says that she was taken off active flight crew duties for an extended period after she reported the rape, but to the best of her knowledge the pilot was never removed from duty and is still employed by the company, where he "remains a threat to other employees."

According to the lawsuit, Pina was serving as a co-pilot with the pilot in question for the first time last June. During a layover in Minneapolis, she says she blacked out after the pilot gave her wine at a hotel lounge.

When she woke up, hours later, she was naked from the waist down in bed in the pilot's hotel room with him, and there was vomit on the blankets, the lawsuit says. She suit says she remained nauseous and in pain for hours afterward and realized that she had been drugged.

When she confronted the pilot, he denied any sexual contact.

After Pina reported the rape to Alaska Airlines, she was taken off active flight crew duties for several months and was only recently returned to full duty, according to the lawsuit. The pilot remained on full duty with the airline and was never charged with any crime.
Co-pilot sues Alaska Airlines, says pilot drugged and raped her | KOMO
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 12:21
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The police should have informed immediately so that evidence could be gathered such a drug test and DNA. A report would then be sent to the relevant authorities who would decide how to proceed.

Was the done or did she just complain to the airline ?
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 14:18
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Originally Posted by krismiler
The police should have informed immediately so that evidence could be gathered such a drug test and DNA. A report would then be sent to the relevant authorities who would decide how to proceed.

Was the done or did she just complain to the airline ?
If there had been a timely criminal complaint, and had the captain been found to be the perp, he wouldn't be working for the airline months later.

Sounds bogus to me.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 14:19
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Originally Posted by krismiler
The police should have informed immediately so that evidence could be gathered such a drug test and DNA. A report would then be sent to the relevant authorities who would decide how to proceed.

Was the done or did she just complain to the airline ?
IMHO this is the problem with so many cases like this. Alaska Airlines is an airline, not an investigation agency. Like any other company it should not be expected to be competent to deal with this. It is not their responsibility. Rape is a criminal offence and should be dealt with by the police only.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 15:25
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Here is original Seattle Times story (as reprinted by the ADN News in ANC) which seems to be the basis for most of the follow-on stories in other media sources:

Co-pilot sues Alaska Airlines over alleged drugging, rape by flight captain during layover

Author: Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times Updated: 12 hours ago Published 14 hours ago

It seemed like any other work stopover along Alaska Airlines' service route:

After arriving in Minneapolis, the captain and his co-pilot, Betty Pina, vanpooled to the flight crew's designated hotel and met up later in the concierge room set up with snacks and drinks for airline employees.

Afterward, there was supposed to be a short overnight stay, before the two piloted a return flight to Seattle the next morning.

But things turned fuzzy for Pina before she made it back to her hotel room that evening, she said.

It started with a glass of wine, Pina said, delivered to her by the captain — a veteran Alaska pilot she'd never met before they were teamed for the three-day assignment last June. Pina commented that her drink tasted funny, then after only a few sips, she couldn't keep her head up and felt the walls closing in.

"From there, I don't remember leaving the concierge room, the elevator ride or walking down the hallway to my room," Pina recalled during a recent interview. "When I woke up, everything was hazy. I remember seeing a figure, somebody pulling at my right ankle, and rolling over and trying to say 'No.' And then, I was out again."

The next time she came to, Pina said she found herself naked from the waist down in a bed wet with vomit. She said she also heard the captain, who was in the same room, admitting into a telephone that he'd been drinking to an unseen airline official.

Now, Pina, 39, a Seattle-area resident and decorated Army chopper pilot who has been flying commercial flights for Alaska since 2016, is suing the airline. Her suit claims Alaska Airlines is liable for its captain's alleged drugging and raping of her that night, and for its subsequent failure to hold him accountable after she reported what happened to airline officials.

"I'm infuriated that he's still working there," Pina said of the accused captain, who she said remains on Alaska's active seniority list for pilots.

In a statement early Wednesday, Alaska Airlines' chief spokeswoman Bobbie Egan declined to comment about Pina's allegations, citing the matter as "an open and active investigation."

"What we can say is that we are taking this matter seriously," Egan said. "The safety and well-being of our employees and guests is a top priority."

The accused captain — a 50-year-old veteran pilot and married Nevada resident — did not respond to a phone message left for him Wednesday. Although he is named in Pina's lawsuit, The Seattle Times is not identifying him because he has not been charged with a crime.

The Times generally does not name victims of alleged sexual assault, but Pina agreed to be identified.

After word of Pina's lawsuit emerged early Wednesday, an airline official contacted her and requested that she voluntarily withdraw from a scheduled work flight, according to her attorneys, Eric Makus and Lincoln Beauregard.

"Betty will fly as scheduled," said Makus, adding the official expressed a change in tone to Pina on Wednesday, offering "complete support" for her.

That's not quite how the airline previously handled the matter, Pina and her lawyers said during an interview Tuesday.

After recounting how she found her underwear inside her zipped-up purse in the captain's room that night, Pina said she regretted not immediately calling 911.

"That's when I knew I'd been assaulted," she said.

Instead, in the first foggy hours after the incident, Pina said she was racked by confusion and sickness — and the fear of losing a 17-year career in aviation that she'd dreamed about while growing up in Kansas.

"I'm worried about everything I've ever worked for," she said. "I'm not married, I don't have kids. My career has been my number one."

Pina said she's since learned that on the night of the incident, a flight attendant reported to the first officer on duty that he had observed the captain walking in a hotel hallway with two glasses of wine and a woman who appeared in danger.

"The crew member didn't feel comfortable flying with (the captain) the next day, so called the (first officer on duty)," Pina said.

That report triggered the duty officer's subsequent calls to the captain's room, asking about his fitness for duty, her lawsuit contends.

After the captain acknowledged drinking, the duty officer scratched the captain and Pina from piloting the return flight to Seattle, she said. The two instead were put in coach seating on a later flight bound for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Pina said.

Before and during the flight, Pina said the captain told her "that I'd been really drunk and had come on to him" the previous evening. She said he also tried to persuade her to "get our stories straight" to avoid putting their jobs at risk.

Back in Seattle, representatives for the pilots' union and airline officials questioned both pilots, taking statements over the next two days, Pina said.

Pina said she initially didn't feel comfortable reporting the rape, but changed her mind after returning home after the airline's interviews and finding "a handprint bruise" on her left thigh and other bruising.

Pina first reported the allegations to her union representative the night of June 7, two days after the alleged assault, and a day later to an Alaska human-resources official.

In early July, Pina said she detailed her allegations again to a lawyer, Marcella Reed, hired by the airline to investigate. The probe focused on whether the captain and Pina potentially violated the company's policy prohibiting pilots from consuming alcohol within 10 hours before a scheduled flight, she said.

The airline had placed Pina on paid leave beginning in June, telling her not to talk about its investigation, she said. Meantime, Reed took various statements and purportedly informed Pina in August that a review of the hotel's security video showed the captain tried to forcibly kiss Pina in an elevator.

"She said I was incapacitated, that it took 18 to 20 minutes to get from the elevator to the room, and this whole time he's trying to get me into the room, and I'm trying to put up whatever fight I can," Pina said.

Finally in December, Pina said, Alaska's Seattle base chief informed her that she'd soon be allowed to return to the cockpit. He also asked her: "Betty, let me ask you this, why didn't you press charges," Pina recalled.

"And until that moment, I thought telling my company and my supervisor is all I needed to do," Pina said. "I was shocked when he said that."

Pina was returned to active duty in January. She fears she may be forced to fly with the captain again — despite the base chief's promises that she won't.

She and her attorneys served the airlines with a legal complaint detailing her allegations in mid-February, largely relying on official summaries of Pina's formal statements to investigators. The airlines didn't take any corrective action, the lawyers said, so they formally filed suit on Wednesday in King County Superior Court.

"My hope is that by me doing this, it may protect other women," Pina said. "How many other victims are out there? I may not be the first case, but I hope to be the last. It's time to take responsibility. The culture needs to change. We can't sweep this under the rug any longer."

Pina said she's open to pursuing a criminal case against the captain.

"I wanted to get back in the cockpit flying before moving forward with anything," she said. "Now that I have, I am."
https://www.adn.com/nation-world/201...uring-layover/
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 16:09
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Originally Posted by Airbubba
Here is original Seattle Times story (as reprinted by the ADN News in ANC) which seems to be the basis for most of the follow-on stories in other media sources:



https://www.adn.com/nation-world/201...uring-layover/
By all means, Miss, file a criminal complaint. However, without a timely filing and rape kit, it will go nowhere.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 16:50
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After arriving in Minneapolis, the captain and his co-pilot, Betty Pina, vanpooled to the flight crew's designated hotel and met up later in the concierge room set up with snacks and drinks for airline employees.
Afterward, there was supposed to be a short overnight stay, before the two piloted a return flight to Seattle the next morning.
As I don't see a time tag for the landing/next day's takeoff, I wonder what Alaska Airlines rules are on having a cocktail during trips between sectors.
I would hope that the rule on "bottle to throttle/bottle to brief" are well spelled out, or that the SOP has crystal clear guidance on that.
"The crew member didn't feel comfortable flying with (the captain) the next day, so called the (first officer on duty)," Pina said. That report triggered the duty officer's subsequent calls to the captain's room, asking about his fitness for duty, her lawsuit contends. After the captain acknowledged drinking, the duty officer scratched the captain and Pina from piloting the return flight to Seattle, she said. The two instead were put in coach seating on a later flight bound for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Pina said.
There appears to have been something not quite right going on, but as that is a news story, and Alaska Air doubtless have more detailed info, it's wait and see ... from what is in the article, it would appear that the FO tried to work within the system, and has gotten frustrated with the response.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 17:52
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
.. from what is in the article, it would appear that the FO tried to work within the system, and has gotten frustrated with the response.
There is too much "he said, she said" in the current environment throughout the western world.. Rape is a criminal matter, and the first order of business to work within the system is to call the police while in the jurisdiction in which a rape occurred.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 18:01
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aterpster: I don't know about you but I have never been raped. Probably because I am an ugly S.O.B., I don't know.
The point is it is all very well sitting there pontificating on what should or should not be done. Until it happens to you, you have no idea what sort of thought processes/emotions may drive your next actions.
So, until it happens to you and you have personal experience to use as a yardstick, I suggest you stop preaching the old "should have done this, should have done that" dogma.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 20:10
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Originally Posted by ironbutt57
another "me too"
From a news article quoting the civil complaint:

Pina's complaint, filed by Tacoma attorney Lincoln C. Beauregard, names only Alaska Airlines as a defendant, accusing the company of committing "grossly abusive actions (that) epitomize the necessity and purpose of the #MeToo movement."

Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Ann Johnson said the captain has been grounded by the airline pending "an open and active investigation."
https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/...t-lawsuit.html

I thought they said the airline already did an investigation, right? Will they do another one to get the 'correct' result?

Seems odd to me that the accuser was given six months off after claiming that she was raped while drunk on a short layover. It's hard to imagine an incident involving alcohol and pilots in the modern era where HIMS and the feds wouldn't get involved.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
As I don't see a time tag for the landing/next day's takeoff, I wonder what Alaska Airlines rules are on having a cocktail during trips between sectors.
I'm told Alaska has a 10 hour rule on abstention from alcohol consumption before performing flight duties.

Alaska Airlines was famously sued for cockpit porn in 1995 by a female MD-80 captain and a large cash settlement was reached. Her husband's unfortunate subsequent demise on Mount Everest was chronicled in Jon Krakeur's 1997 bestseller Into Thin Air.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 21:52
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Why is this "front page" news?
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 22:26
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Originally Posted by KelvinD
aterpster: I don't know about you but I have never been raped. Probably because I am an ugly S.O.B., I don't know.
The point is it is all very well sitting there pontificating on what should or should not be done. Until it happens to you, you have no idea what sort of thought processes/emotions may drive your next actions.
So, until it happens to you and you have personal experience to use as a yardstick, I suggest you stop preaching the old "should have done this, should have done that" dogma.
Please skip the lecture. Professional women in American society are well versed on the necessary steps to report the crime of rape on a timely basis. This woman is a sophisticated professional, not a backwoods farm wife.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 23:13
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Originally Posted by aterpster
Please skip the lecture. Professional women in American society are well versed on the necessary steps to report the crime of rape on a timely basis. This woman is a sophisticated professional, not a backwoods farm wife.
Rape is not a professional act. It's an act of sexual violence by a man against a woman (usually). It shocks the victim in a unique way, and no level of training or professional experience in another field helps the victim to deal with this kind of act. In a situation like the one described it can take time to process what's happened and conclude that rape actually occurred - the mind wants to deny and avoid. It's especially traumatic when the woman has always been treated with respect by fellow professionals. And a rape victim, however uninformed, usually knows that reporting the crime will lead to a long a shaming nightmare with men who will be judgemental and unsupportive.

Rape is not like being mugged.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 23:25
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Originally Posted by axefurabz
Why is this "front page" news?
This is front page news because we have here what appears to possibly be a case of a tainted drink being used to facilitate a rape by one airline pilot of another. The victim here chose at first to seek justice within the organization of the airline involved. Finding that result to be less than satisfactory she is now seeking justice in a public forum.

The fact that the victim has allowed her name to be made public is a testament to her strength and her conviction that unacceptable behavior needs like this needs to be identified as such and actions taken to make sure that it does not happen again. As the father of two young adult daughters I applaud this pilot speaking out and feel that the future for my girls will be brighter and safer for the courage and voice of the victim here.

This story is a reminder that any problems that arise as a result of diversity in our work environments are most often not the responsibility of the few who are bringing a new look to our work forces. Problems are most often the responsibility of those in the majority who are unable to treat all with the respect and dignity that they deserve. The message to all who would take advantage of others in unlawful or unethical ways must be that there are many eyes watching them and many willing to use their voices to call for truth and justice.

I limit most of my contributions to PP to the technical discussion threads where I feel that I am most qualified to contribute. The entry in this thread questioning why the focus on this topic has motivated me to contribute here.
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Old 16th Mar 2018, 00:15
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Originally Posted by aterpster
Please skip the lecture. Professional women in American society are well versed on the necessary steps to report the crime of rape on a timely basis. This woman is a sophisticated professional, not a backwoods farm wife.
Please list your personal experience in dealing with such personal traumas. If you have none, I suggest you stop digging a hole you’ll never climb out from.
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Old 16th Mar 2018, 00:51
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Originally Posted by J.O.
Please list your personal experience in dealing with such personal traumas. If you have none, I suggest you stop digging a hole you’ll never climb out from.
I have many, all of which I choose not to disclose.

What hole am I digging?
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Old 16th Mar 2018, 01:01
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The British male sexual-violence support organisation Survivors UK recently carried out a study on behalf of the Greater London Authority to find out reporting rates among men.

Of the 500 male rape victims included in the survey, 3.9% reported their rape to the Plod.

Perhaps the other 96.1% are lying about having been attacked. Personally, I don't think so.

Reporting rates among women are believed to be higher. But not hugely so, even today. A very large study by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010 found that two out of three rapes of women are never reported.
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Old 16th Mar 2018, 02:01
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Are any of the folks on here asking "Why didn't she report it to the police at the time," women?
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Old 16th Mar 2018, 02:19
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It appears that Betty Pina has flown helos for the Army and Coast Guard and as a production test pilot for Boeing. She was a DHC-8 Q400 first officer at Horizon and was apparently on first year probation as a 737 first officer at Alaska when the incident in MSP allegedly occurred. She was hired at Alaska in November 2016 according to an online profile that she posted.

The lawsuit filed yesterday states the alleged rape in her narrative as though it is an established fact.

From the filed Complaint for Damages: Workplace Rape:

This lawsuit against Alaska Airlines arises form [sic] the workplace drugging and raping of Ms. Pina by another Alaska Airlines employee, Paul Engelien.

Mr. Englien is a senior pilot. Mr. Engelien drugged and raped Ms. Pina during an overnight stay in Minneapolis on a flight from Anchorage to Seattle to Minneapolis.

The entire event was investigated by Alaska Airlines, and reflected in the referenced investigation summary compiled by Marcella Fleming Reed, J.D.
The tie-in to the #MeToo movement is in this paragraph:

Mr. Engelien’s actions, as the supervising officer on the flight, constitute violations of Washington Laws Against Discrimination, sexual assault, and negligence. Given Mr. Engelien’s position of authority on the flight and within the company, Alaska Airlines is liable for the violations stated herein. Mr. Engelien’s grossly abusive actions epitomize the necessity and purpose of the #metoo movement. Further, the actions on the part of Alaska Airlines after the incident could be construed as unlawfully retaliatory.
Some questions seem to arise.

If the company investigation found that the rape occurred, why was the accuser given six months off the line? Was it paid medical leave? Did she request it?

Was the captain grounded since the reported incident? Or was he taken off the line yesterday when the media started calling?

Was the alleged victim afraid to go public with the story until she was off probation and suddenly empowered by the groundswell of the #MeToo movement?

The captain appears to possibly be a military veteran from the Air Force but I can't find much online about him except his Twitter picture with a drink (it may be coffee) in his hand.
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Old 16th Mar 2018, 02:44
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Originally Posted by Gauges and Dials
Are any of the folks on here asking "Why didn't she report it to the police at the time," women?
Probably not. Unfortunately, some do exist. I've run into the "Videotape, or it didn't happen" types among both sexes.

Oddly enough, this only happens with sexual violence. If I tell people, for example, that my laptop computer was stolen from my car, nobody says:-

* What did you do to provoke the thief?

* If it really was stolen, you ought to be able to show me the police report.

* How do you know the thief didn't genuinely believe you were giving your computer away?

* You're just saying your computer was stolen because you like attention.

* It serves you right for having a computer in the first place.

* You lucky bastard...hell, I wish somebody'd steal my computer.

Etc.
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