Police escorted a Modesto man off a Jet Blue aircraft the morning of June 1 when the plane landed at Logan International Airport in Boston. The FBI arrested him on charges of two counts of “abusive sexual contact while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States,” according to June 1 report from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Massachusetts District.
The overnight flight originated in Los Angeles on May 31. During the flight, the defendant, who was sitting in an aisle seat, allegedly put his hand between the legs of the woman sitting next to him as she tended to her baby in the window seat.
The woman pushed the flight attendant button and called to her husband who was sitting in the middle seat across the aisle with the couple's other young child in the window seat. A woman in the aisle seat got up so the husband could go to his wife.
As the second woman was standing in the aisle, she reported the defendant grabbed her buttocks and groin using both hands. She said she slapped his hands away.
Members of the flight crew moved the defendant to another part of the plane next to an empty seat for the duration of the flight.
“Not all there”
The Modesto Bee reported the husband told the authorities the defendant “seemed off.” The second female victim confirmed the defendant appeared to be “not all there.”
According to the Bee, the defendant told the FBI he had taken an Ambien, a sleeping pill classified as a narcotic sedative. He claimed no memory of the sexual assault.
Although rare, Ambien is known to cause side effects, such as sleepwalking, cooking, and driving under the drug's influence. Users report no memory of such behavior.
While the Ambien claim may explain what happened, it does not excuse the inappropriate behavior. If convicted, the defendant could be sentenced to up to three years in prison, a year of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Anyone charged with a federal crime needs competent legal counsel. The Sigal Law Group offers aggressive criminal defense. For a free consultation, call 818-325-0570.