- The Boston-based physician was accused of masturbating and exposing himself near a 14-year-old female seated next to him onboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Boston in May 2022.
Indian American doctor Sudipta Mohanty of Boston, Massachusetts, was found not guilty of masturbating and exposing himself near a 14-year-old female seated next to him onboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Boston in May 2022. He was with his fiancé and was seated next to her and the minor who was traveling with her grandparents, who were sitting nearby.
According to a press release sent on Mohanty’s behalf to American Kahani, evidence presented during the trial showed that “at least fifteen different passenger witnesses in the seats surrounding him indicated that they never saw anything consistent with these accusations while on the flight.” Similarly, “the flight attendants tasked with serving the passengers did not notice anything unusual whatsoever through the entirety of the flight,” the press release added.
Mohanty is an internal medicine and primary care doctor with a practice in Boston and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Riverside University Health System-Medical Center. He earned his medical degree at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and has been in practice for six to 10 years. His Beth Israel Deaconess provider profile notes that he speaks Russian, Spanish, and Thai in addition to English.
He opted for a bench trial, “meaning his acquittal was handed down by a judge, not a jury,” the Associated Press reported. He had been indicted on one count of lewd, indecent, and obscene acts on an aircraft.
He is “relieved” that his ordeal is over, the press release said, and now he can “rebuild his life,” and focus on his “family, his career, and his future.” He describes the past few months as “an incredibly difficult and emotional time” for his family and him, as his name was “ruined publicly for a crime I did not commit.”
Noting that his fiancé was sitting next to him on that flight, he said neither of them “can understand why this happened” to them. “I have dedicated my life to caring for others as a physician, and it has been heartbreaking to step away while I dealt with these false accusations,” he continued. “I am so grateful that the Court came to the right result, and I look forward to continuing to serve my patients and the Boston community.”
According to his counsel Claudia Lagos, these accusations have been devastating to her client. “Dr. Mohanty is a talented and dedicated medical doctor,” she said. “He has absolutely no history of wrongdoing whatsoever. On the contrary, he has devoted his life to helping those in need. The last six months have been a bizarre nightmare for him, and he is relieved this is finally over so that he can rebuild his life.”
The incident for which Mohanty was charged came about five hours into the flight. According to the Boston Herald, “Mohanty and the woman held hands, cuddled,” while seated on the flight. In an Aug. 16, 2022 interview with the FBI, the 14-year-old said the two asked each other “basic level” questions like “What is your favorite color?” which the girl said she found “strange,” the Herald reported. Mohanty was identified as the suspect by Hawaiian Airlines’ seat assignment records, the Herald cited the court affidavit as saying.
About halfway through the flight, the minor allegedly observed that Mohanty had covered himself with a blanket up to his neck and that Mohanty’s leg was bouncing up and down. Shortly thereafter, the minor observed that the blanket was on the floor, no longer covering Mohanty and that he was masturbating. The minor moved herself to an empty seat in a different row for the remainder of the flight.
After arriving in Boston, the minor informed members of her family about the incident, and law enforcement was notified. Mohanty was identified as the suspect by Hawaiian Airlines’ seat assignment records, the Boston Herald said, citing the court affidavit.