iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
California-based Indian origin man is facing federal charges after allegedly groping two women during a flight from Los Angeles to Boston.
The incident occurred May 31, around 9:30 p.m. on a JetBlue flight.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts Jairaj Singh Dhillon, 42, of Modesto, during an overnight flight from Los Angeles to Boston engaged in unwanted sexual contact with two female passengers sitting next to him.
Dhillon was charged with two counts of abusive sexual contact while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.
The charge of abusive sexual contact while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Dhillon was arrested at Boston Logan International Airport on arrival. Following an initial appearance June 1 before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein, Dhillon was held in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for June 2.
According to the complaint, about 30 minutes into the flight the first victim reported that Dhillon, seated in the aisle seat next to her, allegedly touched her while she was taking care of her child.
According to the first victim, Dhillon began caressing her left upper thigh, using the back and the palm of his right hand. Before she was able to move out of the way, Dhillon reached deeper into her upper thigh area and then between legs into her groin area. This happened as she was leaning over to take care of her infant child who was in a car seat to her right in the window seat.
The victim hit Dhillon’s hand away, turned sideways in her seat, pressed the flight attendant’s call button, yelled for her husband seated in the nearby middle seat with their pre-school aged child, for help, and called out for her husband several times and stated out loud, “this man just groped me,” while pointing to Dhillon.
The second victim, who was seated in the aisle seat opposite Dhillon, reported that Dhillon allegedly reached out with both hands and simultaneously grabbed her groin and buttocks when she was standing in the aisle.
The flight crew then intervened and moved Dhillon to another part of the plane for the duration of the flight. When the flight arrived in Boston, law enforcement escorted Dhillon off the plane and placed him under arrest.
According to the complaint, Dhillon is a truck driver by profession, and he was flying to Philadelphia to pick up a tractor-trailer and drive it back to California.
Dhillon on arrival in Boston was arrested and was taken to the airport barracks for questioning, where he denied any memory of his alleged unwanted sexual contact of the first and second victims. He instead said he was sleeping and about 15 or 20 minutes into the flight he took the prescription drug Ambien to help him sleep and contact would have been accidental.
The first victim, however, told the officers she did not see Dhillon consume anything during the flight