A 69-year-old man has been charged with abusive sexual contact after he allegedly groped a teenager on board a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Seattle.
Jack Allen Roberson of Andrews, North Carolina, was arrested upon landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and remained in custody after a detention hearing last week.
“According to documents filed in the case, Roberson was seated next to the 15-year-old victim who was traveling with her guardian,” the Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a July 17 statement release.
According to the criminal complaint, while appearing to be asleep, Roberson allegedly placed his hand on the victim’s thigh and ran under her skirt and to her genitals. The victim reported the unwanted touch to her guardian, who contacted the flight attendant.
“Roberson was transferred to another seat. The police were contacted and met the plane upon arrival. Roberson was arrested and taken to the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac.”
According to the DoJ, abusive sexual contact on an airplane carries a penalty of up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case is being investigated by the FBI.
United States Judge S. Kate Vaughan, in her arrest warrant after Mr Roberson’s hearing on Thursday, noted that “release to an inpatient facility with at least GPS monitoring would be required to reduce the risk to the community, but the defendant does not have access to such a facility at this time.”
According to the court DocumentsMr Roberson had a history of alcohol abuse, his wife had obtained a protective order against him and “after a previous incident he was admitted to hospital but re-examined three days later.”
Referring to that month’s in-flight incident, Mr Roberson claimed “he consumed eight alcoholic beverages before the flight and two more alcoholic beverages during the flight,” the filing said.
The judge ordered Mr Roberson’s detention pending trial.