Australian claims she was sexually assaulted by Malaysia Airlines chief steward

SYDNEY - An Australian woman claimed she was sexually assaulted during a Malaysia Airlines flight by the chief steward.

Laura Bushney said she was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Paris on flight MH20 on Aug 4 when Mohammed Rosli Bin Ab Karim touched her, Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Bushney recorded part of the incident secretly and the footage was aired on Channel Seven's Sunday Night programme.

The newspaper quoted the 26-year-old disability support worker as saying she was scared to travel on the airline following the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17.

Rosli, 54, sat next to her and pretended to comfort her, but instead touched her as she tried to sleep, said the report. He allegedly massaged her legs, putting them over his lap so she could feel that he had an erection. He then put his hand inside her pants, touching her genitals, according to the report.

"I just keep saying: 'Why didn't I scream, why didn't I shout? Why didn't I stop it? I am a strong person because I can do that, I know I can,'" the report quoting Bushney as saying during the TV interview.

"When I was in the moment, I couldn't. I felt so scared, so petrified."

After Rosli walked away, Bushney confided in another passenger, Canadian national Sophie Lachance, the Mail Online reported.

"I saw her face full of tears," the website quoted Lachance as telling the Sunday Night programme. "She literally told me, 'this man put his hands in my pants'."

It was Lachance who urged Bushney to report the incident, said the website.

Mail Online said during the assault, Bushney managed to record the incident, as well as a conversation she had with Rosli after the incident.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Bushney as saying Rosli approached her later during the flight and apologised, saying he had only wanted to calm her down.

In the exchange recorded on her phone, Bushney responded: "You wanted to calm me down by putting your hand in my pants. You did. You put your hand inside my pants."

Bushney was moved to First Class where Rosli approached her again, begging her not to pursue the matter because he had a wife and children, according to the newspaper.

"If you've got a wife at home, why would you do that? That's rape," she told him.

Rosli was taken away for questioning by police when the flight landed in Paris and remains on remand while the investigation continues, reported Sydney Morning Herald, adding that Bushney is expected to return to Australia this week

Mail Online reported that Rosli told French police he never intended to rape Bushney and she did not resist him.

Sydney Morning Herald said the Australian woman was "furious" at the way the complaint was handled by Malaysia Airlines. She claimed the airline has not contacted her with an apology or an offer of counselling since the alleged incident.

Malaysia Airlines released a brief statement in response to the allegations.

"Malaysia Airlines can confirm that following allegations by a passenger travelling on flight MH20 from Kuala Lumpur to Paris on 4th August 2014 of inappropriate sexual behaviour by a member of the cabin crew, the member of staff in question has been detained for questioning by the French police.

"Malaysia Airlines expects and accepts nothing short of the highest standards of conduct from its crew and takes any such allegations very seriously."

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