A Woman Reported a Man's Texts on an Airplane & Saved 2 Children From Sexual Abuse

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There's typically an unspoken rule about looking at another person's phone without permission, but in this case, it helped reveal the horrifying plans between 56-year-old Michael Kellar and his 50-year-old girlfriend, Gail Burnsworth. Text messages that were recently unsealed from a federal complaint show a conversation detailing their plot to drug and sexually abuse two young children living with Burnsworth, according to The New York Daily News.

The messages were visible to a passenger sitting behind Kellar on his flight to San Jose, due to an enlarged font on his phone. The Los Angeles Times reports the preschool teacher who spotted the messages was able to read every word, and immediately “alerted the flight crew, who in turn phoned the police." She even managed to take a clear picture on her own phone as evidence for the authorities. Kellar was arrested as soon as their flight landed in Seattle, and Burnsworth was taken into custody shortly after. 

They were both charged Monday with “attempted enticement of a minor, including rape of a child and conspiracy to produce child pornography.” Kellar, however, attempted to justify the messages by saying he was only "engaging in sexual fantasies," despite the fact that he had clarified several times that these acts could actually occur. His girlfriend had reportedly already taken several videos of the 5-year-old and 7-year-old to send to him. 

San Jose Police Sgt. Brian Spears, leader of the Silicon Valley’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, personally thanked the teacher for her intervention. He believed “she needed to be told in person she is our hero...I was blessed to meet her,” he told the L.A. Times, and he “gave her a big hug and said thank you.”

It’s likely we’d all love to give her a hug and thank her for bravely doing the right thing.

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About The Author

Emily Gray is a native Wisconsinite and is currently a sophomore at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities pursuing a major in Journalism, and minors in both Spanish Studies and the Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance. She writes for Her Campus as a news blogger, and when she's not writing, she enjoys finding prime reading spots on campus and delighting in spotting dogs on campus.