A 32-year-old man was accused of sexually assaulting a feminine passenger throughout a flight, prompting it to be diverted to permit for his elimination, federal prosecutors stated on Friday.
The man, James Clayton Cholewinski-Boyd, a retired speedskater, was in an aisle seat on Tuesday on an American Airlines flight that was headed to Salt Lake City from Charlotte, N.C.
He was seated subsequent to the girl, and her daughter was in the window seat, in keeping with a federal prison criticism.
Shortly after takeoff, Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd, who’s listed in some court docket data as James Clayton Cholewinski-Boy, started touching the girl’s arm, regardless of her repeated makes an attempt to push his palms away. Then he grabbed her crotch, the criticism stated.
The lady instantly pushed Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd’s hand away and instructed him to cease. He put his palms up and stated “sorry” earlier than the girl notified the flight crew, in keeping with court docket paperwork.
The lady and her daughter have been moved to a totally different half of the aircraft, and the pilot diverted the flight to Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Okla.
After the aircraft landed, Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd, of Murray, Utah, was charged by the airport police with public intoxication, and on Friday he was additionally charged by federal prosecutors with abusive sexual conduct. His standing was not instantly clear and court docket data didn’t checklist a lawyer for him.
The aircraft refueled in Tulsa and continued to Salt Lake City, arriving about two and a half hours later than scheduled, an American Airlines spokesman stated.
The airline stated it was grateful for the crew’s response in separating the mom and her daughter from Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd, requesting regulation enforcement and diverting the plane.
Reported sexual assaults aboard planes are on the rise, the F.B.I. said in a news release last year. In 2017, there were 63 in-flight sexual assaults reported, an increase from 38 in 2014.
It’s difficult to know exactly how many sexual assaults occur on flights because no clearinghouse for the data exists, and experts say sexual assaults are the most underreported of violent crimes.
One-fifth of nearly 2,000 flight attendants surveyed in 2017 said they had received a report of passenger-on-passenger sexual assault while working, but that law enforcement officials were contacted less than half the time, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-C.W.A.
Experts recommend various ways to stay safe and combat sexual assault on flights. They say passengers should keep the armrest down between seats, alert flight attendants if someone is invading their personal space and call attention to the situation if it escalates.