An Indian national was detained and produced before a local court in New Jersey on Thursday on charges of abusive sexual contact on a plane from Mumbai to Newark, federal prosecutors said.
Facing a maximum sentence of two years and a fine of up to USD 250,000, Ganesh Parkar, 40, made an initial appearance in a federal court in New Jersey and was detained.
According to the complaint, the incident happened on December 21, on board an Air India flight AI191 from Mumbai to Newark.
During the flight, Parkar moved from his ticketed seat in the business class section of the plane to economy class and sat next to a female passenger seated in a centre row.
When the woman fell asleep, Parkar placed his hand on her private parts without her consent, the complaint alleges.
The unidentified woman did not know Parkar and engaged in only limited conversation with the defendant during the flight. After the incident, Parkar was moved back to his original seat.
During the remainder of the flight, Parkar wrote two short notes to the victim in which apologized for a “moment’s stupidity” and stated “I acknowledge I was stupid”.