THE SNUGBUS Archive

Elizabeth Smart Says She Was Sexually Assaulted While Sleeping On A Plane

Elizabeth Smart revealed that she was sexually assaulted on a Delta flight to Utah last summer. Smart, who was kidnapped in 2002 when she was 14, told CBS This Morning that she was asleep on a plane when the man sitting next to her started to rub her legs.

"I had been asleep, and, all of a sudden, I woke up because I felt someone's hand rubbing in between my legs — on my inner thigh," she said. "I was shocked. I mean, the last time someone touched me without my say-so was when I was kidnapped. And I froze. I didn't know what to do."

She said the man refused to apologize or explain himself.

"I jerked awake. I expected the man to jerk his hand away, apologize, give me some kind of reason why he was touching me. He did nothing," she said.

After the flight, Smart contacted Delta to tell them what happened. The airline apologized and said they would investigate her claims with the help of the FBI. The suspect has not been identified, and the FBI did not comment on the status of their investigation.

Smart was kidnapped out of her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah, at knifepoint in 2002. She was held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee. During that time, she was raped daily, tied up, and threatened with death if she tried to escape.

She was rescued by the police on March 12, 2003, after they found her on a public street in Sandy, Utah, which is about 18 miles from her home.

Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and was released in 2018 while Mitchell was sentenced to two life terms in federal prison.

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