A South Sudanese-born Australian model is facing 21-year prison sentence for slapping a flight attendant during a flight in January.
Adau Mornyang was indicted by a US federal court and will now be sentenced in June.
In a press release, the US Department of Justice said Ms Adau was found guilty of a felony charge of interference with a flight crew and a misdemeanor assault count.
It said, “according to the evidence presented at the trial, several hours into the flight, passengers approached a flight attendant to complain about Adau’s disruptive behavior, which included flailing her arms and yelling obscenities and racial slurs.”
When the flight attendant approached to assess the situation, Adau reportedly began to shout at the attendant and then slapped him across his face.
But Adau disputed the claims saying some passengers told her she never assaulted anyone.
“Passengers on that flight and other flight attendants said there was never a slap, the evidence was ignored and they decided to believe (the flight attendant),” she told the news outlet.
She, however, admits that she couldn’t remember what transpired after blacking out.
“I was so confused and begging and pleading for them to tell me what I did. I was ignored, I was in and out of consciousness, and was later locked up in federal prison still with no memory of what I was arrested for,” Adau said.
“This whole alleged slapping is a big shock to me and I cry every night wondering why I have no memory of it. How I could of done it while asleep.”
An affidavit by an air marshal described Adau’s behavior as “the most severe he had encountered in his 10 years.”
Although Adau has been found guilty in a Los Angeles federal courtroom of interference with and assaulting a flight attendant, she was absolved of assaulting the air marshal.
The fashion enthusiast thinks this single incident has ended her modeling career. She had just received a 3-year contract with a modeling company in the U.S.
Still pleading her innocence, Adua said she would never have done anything to jeopardize her “life-changing opportunity.”
“I was so excited. I couldn’t believe that it was finally happening. This was a now or never modeling opportunity and I would not have done anything to ruin it,” she told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
She added that she has often been on the receiving end of violence, and despise it.
“I’ve never laid my hands on another human being. I would rather hurt myself than another human being,” she concluded.
In 2017, Adau Mornyang who was crowned Miss World Australia State revealed she was raped by two men when she was just 17 years old, and that the 2012 incident in Adelaide has had a traumatizing impact on her life.
During the live video, which quickly went viral, Adau said she was drugged by her two male friends, then “raped after blacking out.”
She reported the incident to police and the men were arrested but claimed she was bullied and harassed by some members of the South Sudanese community who told her ”she asked for it.”
Adua later dropped the case and moved to Melbourne.
She said she had started a conversation about what she says is the “unspoken rape culture in the South Sudanese community in Australia.”
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