A 49-year-old Tampa man is facing federal charges after being accused of inappropriate behavior on a flight.
The man appeared in federal court Monday in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with abusive sexual contact.
The charge against the man arose out of an in-flight incident while traveling on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque on Sunday. The criminal complaint alleges he groped a woman in the seat in front of him. The woman then requested that flight attendants move her to a different seat.
A conviction on the abusive sexual contact charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department.
Crimes aboard aircraft fall within the FBI’s jurisdiction. Sex crimes on flights are surprisingly common. In 2014 there were 38 cases of in-flight sexual assault reported to the FBI. In 2015, that number increased to 63.
While there are certainly people that are sexually assaulted on airplanes, not every accusation of sexual assault or unlawful sexual conduct has merit. Sex crimes cases are rarely as black and white as that.
That why if you’re facing a charge of sexual assault or rape, it is absolutely vital for you to call a Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton. Don’t even think about trying to explain things to the police before you call us at 813-221-3200. We will put our decades of trial law and former state prosecution experience to work for you to fight for your rights and your freedom. We understand the severity of the charges you are facing and what it takes to build a successful case on your behalf.
Contact us online for a free case evaluation today.