Woman groped on JFK flight says she was ‘disrespected’ by attacker’s verdict

A Queens woman who was molested on a flight to JFK told the Post Monday that a federal judge “disrespected her” by giving her convicted attacker a break.

The victim, 30, said U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, 88, “nullified” her horrifying 2018 experience by allowing convicted sycophant Daniel Katz to dodge any jail time last week.

“It hurts,” said the woman, who asked to be identified as just Gina. “Although eventually [his conviction] was still an empowering experience… and helpful in my healing journey, i guess at the end of the day i just don’t feel respected.

“My biggest reaction after sharing my testimony was that the judge repeatedly called this a strange case, a strange thing, a strange ordeal,” she said. “And I think that speaks volumes because it’s not a weird thing.

“It was a sexual assault and a convicted felony and if you call that an odd thing it completely invalidates not only my experience but any other sexual assault victim,” said the woman, who works in tech services.

US District Judge Frederic Block
A harassed airman says U.S. District Judge Frederic Block “didn’t respect her” in his sentencing of her attacker.
Paul Martinka

Katz, 36, was found dead by a federal jury in the attack on Etihad Airways Flt. 103 – with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn demanding he be sentenced to up to 21 months behind bars.

Block, a Clinton-appointed judge, instead sentenced Katz to a year’s probation, including three months of uncontrolled house arrest.

“What does that say for future predators?” Gina told the Post on Monday. “What statement does that make to people who are afraid to report abuse because it’s scary?”

Katz declined to comment to The Post on Sunday when reached at his home in Brooklyn. Phone calls to him went unanswered on Sunday and Monday.

Etihad Airways
A Queens woman was sexually harassed while sleeping on Etihad Airways Flt. 103 flew into JFK Airport on February 23, 2018.
Getty Images

According to court records, Katz is a former volunteer at a children’s summer camp in upstate New York and has twice taught youth in South Korea.

He told investigators that his encounter with Gina was consensual and even once claimed his victim was “the attacker” in the incident.

But Gina said she was sleeping on the plane when Katz attacked her.

She said she was returning from a dream holiday in Thailand and Abu Dhabi when she was attacked in her seat and the trip turned into a nightmare.

She said the flight attendants dismissed her complaints and that the airline later refused to investigate the incident – prompting her to eventually call a New York City Police Department rape hotline.

Police referred her to the FBI, which launched an investigation that ended with the trial in Brooklyn federal court and Katz’s conviction in June 2021.

In addition to the probation, Block ordered Katz to do 75 hours of community service and required him to register as a sex offender, court filings show.

Etihad Airways
A Queens woman said flight attendants dismissed her complaints.
Getty Images

But it falls far short of justice, Gina said.

“What can we do for the future? How can this be used culturally to just make it better,” she said. “Unfortunately, in this case, the judge sided with the predator.

“The incident itself is just so hurtful,” she said. “You feel so exposed and so vulnerable.”

“There are so many ways you can feel emasculated in this process and for a judge, ultimately the sentencing is entirely up to that person to disregard not only my experience but the 12 people who convicted him and say, ‘I disagree’ or whatever, ‘It’s not that bad.’ And then to give this sentence? It’s just like, wow.”

Meanwhile, Judge Block is no stranger to controversy.

He filed gun charges against a violent criminal in 2015, telling critics of the move, “I’m in the DGS life stage: don’t back down.”

Block also once referred to the female victims in one assault case as “not angels,” while he did not sentence her attacker to any additional jail time.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/12/woman-groped-on-jfk-flight-says-she-was-disrespected-by-attackers-sentence/ Woman groped on JFK flight says she was ‘disrespected’ by attacker’s verdict

JACLYN DIAZ

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