Elizabeth Smart speaks out about reported sexual assault on plane

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – One day after revealing she was sexually assaulted on an airplane, Elizabeth Smart is speaking out.

Smart says it happened last year on a Delta Airlines flight returning to Salt Lake City.

“I was coming home from a presentation,” said Smart. “As soon as I got on the plane, I just sat in my seat and fell asleep.”

While asleep sitting in her window seat, Smart says she suddenly woke up as the plane was beginning to land.

“When we were starting that initial descent 45 minutes away from landing I woke up, and I jerked away because I felt someone’s hand on my inner thigh rubbing my leg. I’m on a plane that definitely should not be happening.”

Smart, who was kidnapped and raped over a period of nine months in 2002 at the age of 14, says she alerted law enforcement and Delta Airlines.

“I looked at him and I was waiting for him to apologize.”

In the wake of this incident, Smart launched a self-defense program called Smart Defense. The program is through the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.

“What makes us different is that we don’t want to lose contact with all of the people that come through the program.”

Smart Defense is currently only available in Salt Lake City.

Organizers plan on expanding it across the state and eventually other major U.S. cities.

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