LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An Australian model who was found guilty of assault after a fracas on a flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles avoided prison when she was sentenced in U.S. court on Monday.
Adau Mornyang, 25, was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to receive mental health and alcohol abuse counseling, Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in an email.
Prosecutors at a hearing in Los Angeles federal court had sought a one-month prison sentence and three months of home detention. Mornyang could have received a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison after a federal jury found her guilty in March of assault and interfering with a flight crew.
Mornyang, a finalist in the Miss World Australia beauty pageant in 2017, became abusive when the crew on the Jan. 21 flight cut her off after several alcoholic drinks, according to court papers filed by prosecutors.
Passengers complained that she yelled obscenities and racial slurs. When a flight attendant asked her to calm down she struck the attendant as well as some passengers, prosecutors said, at which point several undercover federal air marshals restrained her and put her in handcuffs.
U.S. District Judge Carmac Carney said he took into account Mornyang’s history of “sexual, physical and verbal abuse” in his sentencing, according to City News Service.
Australian media has reported that Mornyang appeared on video on Facebook in 2017 to say she was raped as a teenager but was pressured to ask police to drop the case.
Mornyang told the judge she was embarrassed and “made a terrible mistake due to my alcoholism,” City News Service reported. Mornyang’s federal public defender declined to comment.
Mornyang is expected to be deported from the United States, which could prevent her from completing her community service, McEvoy said. Carney also imposed a $2,000 fine but waived it because Mornyang could not pay, McEvoy said.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Bill Tarrant and Sonya Hepinstall