An Alaska Airlines co-pilot has filed a lawsuit claiming that the airline is liable for a captain allegedly drugging and raping her while on a layover, and for failing to hold him accountable after she reported the incident.
Betty Pina, 39, joined Alaska Airlines in 2016, after serving as a decorated Army helicopter pilot. She told The Seattle Times that she had never met the veteran captain, identified as 50-year-old Paul Engelien, before she was teamed up with him last June. They meet for food and drinks in a lobby set up for airline employees in Minneapolis, and Pina said her wine tasted odd. Soon, she felt woozy, and somehow made it back to her room. When she woke up, she said, "everything was hazy. I remember seeing a figure, somebody pulling at my right ankle, and rolling over and trying to say 'No.' And then, I was out again."
Pina said when she woke up later, she was naked from the waist down and knew she had been assaulted. She did not call 911 because she was "worried about everything I've ever worked for," she said. "I'm not married, I don't have kids. My career has been my No. 1." She told The Seattle Times she later learned that a flight attendant saw Engelien with two glasses of wine and a woman who appeared to be in trouble, and a lawyer hired by Alaska to investigate her report told Pina that security footage shot inside a hotel elevator showed Engelien trying to forcibly kiss her.
Pina is "infuriated" that Engelien still works for the airline, and said she's afraid she may be forced to fly with him again. "My hope is that by me doing this, it may protect other women," she said. "How many other victims are out there? I may not be the first case, but I hope to be the last."