Man who sexually assaulted woman in middle seat of Delta flight to Detroit claims he was asleep, feds say

Bektash Sefa facing abusive sexual contact charge

The inside of an airplane. (Pexels)

DETROIT – A man who was caught sexually assaulting the 19-year-old woman sitting in the middle seat next to him on a Delta flight to Detroit blamed it on his hands moving while he slept, according to authorities.

Officials said Bektash Sefa sat next to a 19-year-old woman during an Oct. 10, 2021, Delta Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit Metro Airport.

Woman reports sexual assault

The woman told officials that Sefa tried to talk to her while the aircraft was boarding, but she didn’t engage in the conversation. She said that she was sitting in the middle seat of the row, and Sefa was to her left, according to court records.

About two hours into the eight-hour flight, the woman started to fall asleep, authorities said. She woke up when she felt Sefa put his right hand on her left knee and massage the area, according to the criminal complaint.

The woman said she shifted her body away from Sefa, but he edged closer to her and moved his hand up her leg, officials said.

Sefa touched the woman’s inner thigh and groin area while adjusting his arm so that his right elbow pressed against her chest, according to authorities.

The woman said she stood up and ran to the bathroom at the back of the plane. When she came out, she reported the sexual assault to two flight attendants, officials said.

The flight attendants told authorities that the woman was crying when she approached them. She reported waking up to Sefa rubbing the inside of her thigh and using his elbow to touch her chest, the flight attendants told officials.

“(She) was so frightened that she could barely explain the incident,” the complaint reads. “Both flight attendants noted that the lights were off, and the cabin was dark when the incident took place.”

The woman was relocated to a different part of the airplane, authorities said. The flight attendants notified officials about the incident.

Sefa blames ‘nightmares’

When the plane landed at Detroit Metro Airport, Sefa was escorted off and interviewed through an Albanian interpreter in the McNamara Terminal, court records show.

“He denied touching anyone during the flight, but claimed that he has nightmares, and his hands move a lot when he sleeps and that he sometimes sleepwalks,” the criminal complaint reads.

The complaint argues that there is probable cause to believe Sefa knowingly engaged in sexual contact with the woman without her permission, “with the intent to harass, arouse, and gratify (his) sexual desire.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.