An Alaska Airlines pilot has claimed that she was drugged and raped by her flight captain during an overnight stay.
Betty Pina, 39, is now suing the airline and has revealed that Paul Engelien, the 50-year-old married captain, is still working for the company.
Pina, a decorated Army helicopter pilot with 17 years of aviation experience, was Engelien’s co-pilot for a flight from Anchorage to Seattle to Minneapolis last June.
It was the first time she had met the captain, a veteran with the company, according to the lawsuit.
Alaska Airlines pilot Betty Pina, 39, (left) has claimed she was drugged and raped by flight captain Paul Engelien, 50, (right) during an overnight stay
Engelien was the senior pilot on the three-day assignment, which began June 4 and ended June 6, while Pina was the first officer.
Pina said Engelien made her feel comfortable during their first flight with a lot of ‘military speak’.
During the Seattle flight Engelien invited Pina to meet him at a concierge room in their designated Minneapolis hotel where he said the crew would get pizza and wine, the lawsuit states.
Pina and the captain were staying at the hotel during an overnight stay and were scheduled to pilot a flight back to Seattle together in the morning.
They met up in the concierge room, where Pina said Engelien gave her a second glass of wine.
But, after only a few sips, Pina had a ‘hard time keeping her head up and things appeared to be closing in’, according to the lawsuit.
Pina’s lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, claims Alaska Airlines is liable for the alleged rape, as well as how it handled the situation after Engelien was reported to company officials
Pina, a decorated military helicopter pilot with 17 years of aviation experience, was the captain’s co-pilot for a flight from Anchorage to Seattle to Minneapolis last June
‘From there, I don’t remember leaving the concierge room, the elevator ride, or walking down the hallway to my room,’ she told The Seattle Times.
‘When I woke up, 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.’
When Pina woke up, her bra and top were still on but her pants and underwear had been taken off. She was in Engelien’s room and the bed was wet with vomit.
When she found her underwear inside her purse, Pina said she ‘knew’ she’d been assaulted.
She also heard Engelien speaking into the phone in the room, admitting to an airline official that he had been drinking that night.
What Pina didn’t know at the time was that a flight attendant had seen the captain walking in a hotel hallway ‘with a girl and two glasses of wine’, the lawsuit states.
She reported the captain to the first officer on duty and said she didn’t feel comfortable flying with him.
The first officer called Engelien and removed him and Pina from piloting the return flight to Seattle after the captain said they had been drinking.
Pina and the captain were staying at the designated hotel during an overnight stay and Engelien invited her to have drinks in the concierge room with the crew
They were then booked in coach for a later flight heading back to the city, at which time Pina said Engelien claimed she had been ‘really drunk’ the night before and denied they had any sexual contact.
He also told her ‘You were coming onto me pretty hard’, and tried to persuade Pina to ‘get our stories straight’ so they wouldn’t get in trouble, she alleged.
After returning to Seattle, they were both interviewed by airline officials and representatives from the pilots’ union over the next two days.
Pina reported the rape on June 7 after she saw bruising on her body, including one in the shape of a handprint on her thigh.
She was taken off active duty and placed on paid leave in the beginning of June.
Alaska Airlines then hired lawyer Marcella Reed to investigate whether Pina and Engelien had violated a company policy prohibiting pilots from drinking alcohol 10 hours before a scheduled flight.
Reed reviewed the hotel’s security video, and told Pina she had seen footage of the captain trying to ‘forcibly kiss’ her in the elevator.
‘She said I was incapacitated, that it took 18 to 20 minutes to get from the elevator to the room,’ Pina recalled.
‘And this whole time he’s trying to get me into the room, and I’m trying to put up whatever fight I can.’
Pina was told in December that she would be allowed to return to active duty. She said the airline’s Seattle base chief officer also asked why she didn’t press charges.
Pina said Engelien gave her a second glass of wine and ‘after just a few sips’ she struggled to lift up her head. She said she later woke up in his bedroom naked from the waist down
‘And until that moment, I thought my company and my supervisor is all I needed to do,’ she told the paper. ‘I was shocked when he said that.’
Pina, who is employed as a first officer in good standing, returned to active duty with Alaska Airlines in January.
But Pina said she is ‘infuriated’ that Engelien is still working at the company and decided to take action in hopes of protecting other women.
‘How many other victims are out there? I may not be the first case, but I hope to be the last,’ she said.
‘It’s time to take responsibility. The culture needs to change. We can’t sweep this under the rug any longer.’
Pina, who is employed as a first officer in good standing, returned to active duty with Alaska Airlines in January
The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, claims that Alaska Airlines is liable for the alleged rape, as well as how it handled the situation after Engelien was reported to company officials.
Pine said she is also considering pursuing a criminal case against Engelien.
Alaska Airlines told Dailymail.com that they would not comment on the ‘open and active investigation’.
‘What we can say is that we are taking this matter seriously,’ spokeswoman Ann Johnson said.
‘The safety and well-being of our employees and guests is a top priority.’
‘With regarding to the accused, it is our policy to withhold an employee from work during this type of investigation.’