Man allegedly molested teen during cross-country flight
A 28-year-old man traveling aboard a JetBlue flight from New York City to Salt Lake City Thursday faces two federal charges after he allegedly molested a minor seated next to him.
According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the man began talking to the 17-year-old girl and was soon in a "deep conversation" with her that concluded with the exchange of a hug. During the conversation the man ordered a double Jack Daniels and Coke and let the teenager take a few sips of the drink.
At some point, the man draped a blanket over himself and the girl and they cuddled, the court filing states. They also exchanged some kisses before the teenager fell asleep. She awoke some time later and found the man was holding her down with one hand and touching her breast with the other.
As the teenager pushed the man away, he grabbed one of her hands and placed it over his genitalia while trying to cuddle with her again and then tried to place one of his hands down her pants. At that point, the teenager got out of her seat and told a flight attendant that, "The man next to me tried to put his hand down my pants and I'm a minor," the filing states.
The attendant kept the juvenile in the rear of the plane for the remainder of the flight and notified authorities at the Salt Lake International Airport of the alleged sexual misconduct. Airport officials contacted the FBI. A special agent and airport security met the plane at the gate and took the man into custody.
He told authorities he had cuddled with and kissed the girl before falling asleep with his arm around her. The man said when he awoke, his hand was on her breast. He also told investigators he had put his hand on her stomach, the filing states.
The man is charged with nonconsenual sexual contact and contact leading to a sexual act aboard an aircraft; the first offense is punishable by up to two years in prison and the second carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.
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