Sunday, September 19, 2021

Retired Southwest Pilot Sentenced to Probabtion for Watching Pornography, Exposing Genitals on Flight

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*A former Southwest Airlines pilot has been sentenced to one year of probation after he allegedly watched porn and exposed his genitals to a female officer on a flight. 

The incident occurred on August 10, 2020, during a flight from Philadelphia to Orlando. Federal prosecutors said Michael Haak, 60, “disrobed” once the plane reached cruising altitude, and got out of the pilot’s seat and began watching porno on a laptop computer in the cockpit, per the New York Post,

“As the plane continued its flight, Haak further engaged in inappropriate conduct in the cockpit, as the first officer continued to perform her duties as an assigned aircrew member,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham condemned the pilot’s misconduct, saying that he “had a duty to comport himself in a much more responsible manner.”

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“This is not the kind of aberrant behavior that anyone should accept,” the prosecutor added.

Haak, who retired after the incident, was charged in April and pleaded guilty to committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act in a public place.

According to the reports, Haak apologized on Friday before US Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson before he was ordered to serve probation and pay a $5,000 fine.

“It started as a consensual prank between me and the other pilot. I never imagined it would turn into this in a thousand years,” Haak said during the virtual hearing.

His attorney Michael Salnick said in a court filing that his client deserves a lenient sentence given his “lifetime of hard work and kindness.”

“The embarrassment and resulting publicity of this incident has in and of itself been humbling to Michael Haak and has served as punishment in many ways,” he wrote.

Southwest spokesperson Chris Mainz said the airline “does not tolerate behavior of this nature and will take prompt action if such conduct is substantiated.”

“Nonetheless, Southwest did investigate the matter and as a result, ceased paying Mr. Haak any benefits he was entitled to receive as a result of his separation from (the airline),” Mainz said in a statement.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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