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 mentioned 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 lady, and her daughter was in the window seat, in accordance with a federal legal grievance.
Shortly after takeoff, Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd, who’s listed in some courtroom data as James Clayton Cholewinski-Boy, started touching the lady’s arm, regardless of her repeated makes an attempt to push his palms away. Then he grabbed her crotch, the grievance mentioned.
The girl instantly pushed Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd’s hand away and instructed him to cease. He put his palms up and mentioned “sorry” earlier than the lady notified the flight crew, in accordance with courtroom paperwork.
The girl and her daughter had been moved to a completely 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 courtroom data didn’t record 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 mentioned.
The airline mentioned it was grateful for the crew’s response in separating the mom and her daughter from Mr. Cholewinski-Boyd, requesting legislation 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.