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Man facing federal charges after groping incident on airplane

Federal authorities have filed charges against an airline passenger for allegedly touching a flight attendant inappropriately. The story may be an alert to readers in Pennsylvania that the Justice Department and the FBI may consider your actions while flying on a jet to justify a federal charge.

According to media reports, the defendant, 24, was a passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight. The FBI says that the man was served several drinks during the flight. He began talking loudly and using foul language and a flight attendant asked him to stop. The man responded that the flight attendant should date him.

Another attendant approached the man's seat. The man noticed her and told her she was beautiful and asked her to "blow off work and come with me," according to federal authorities. The agents also claim that the man touched the second flight attendant's buttocks as she passed.

The man was arrested on April 5 and had his first appearance in federal court on April 8, apparently after spending the weekend in jail. He has been charged with abusive sexual content, a felony that could lead to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted.

While this conduct normally would not lead to federal charges, the fact that these alleged events took place while the plane was in the air makes it a matter for federal authorities, along with certain other factors.

Given the nature of the story, it is likely that there were several witnesses among the passengers and flight crew. It would be interesting to hear their version of events.

Source: KDVR-TV, "Groping accusation leads to federal felony charges, FBI investigation," Matt Farely, April 8, 2013

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