“The last time someone touched me without my say-so was when I was kidnapped,” Smart revealed.
Elizabeth Smart claims she was sexually assaulted by a man on a plane last year.
In an interview on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, the 32-year-old — who was kidnapped, repeatedly raped and held captive for nine months in 2002 — said the unidentified man began molesting her during a Delta flight to Salt Lake City.
“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 told host Gayle King.
“The last time someone touched me without my say-so was when I was kidnapped, and I froze,” Smart said. “I didn’t know what to do.” Since her abduction, she said she’s “never been threatened until now.”
Smart said she expected the man to apologize, but he remained quiet. She reported the incident to Delta after the plane landed, as she “didn’t want him preying on other girls.” Delta employees were “appalled and they offered to help as much as they could,” she claimed.
“I mean, it’s not Delta’s fault, it was this man,” Smart explained. “This man made a decision.”
“Delta took the matter seriously and has continued to cooperate with Ms. Smart and the appropriate authorities as the matter is investigated. Delta does not tolerate misconduct towards other customers or Delta people,” the airline said in a statement to “CBS This Morning.”
The FBI has since opened an investigation into the matter.
At the age of 14, Smart was kidnapped at knife point from her bedroom in Salt Lake City by Brian David Mitchell. He kept her captive with his wife Wanda Barzee, where Smart was forced drugs and alcohol, and raped up to four times a day while tied to a tree, according to her court testimony.
Mitchell is serving a life sentence in federal prison, while Barzee was set free in 2018, and lives in Smart’s hometown.
Smart — now a mother of three — has since devoted much of her time to helping other victims of child abductions, opening the Elizabeth Smart Foundation in 2011.
She told King the airplane incident inspired her to open a self-defense program for women called Smart Defense.