Female passenger, who took a sleeping pill, wakes up to find herself being ‘sexually assaulted’ by man, 22, on flight to Hawaii
A woman was sexually assaulted while she slept by the man sitting in the airplane seat next to her, authorities said.
Luavalu Seuva’ai, 22, pleaded not guilty to the attack on Hawaiian Airlines flight 456 on August 16.
Seuva’ai appeared before a federal judge on Monday after court documents reported that he fondled the woman after she took a spoonful of Nyquil and fell asleep.
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It was believed that the victim, who has not been identified, and Seuva’ai had been chatting during the flight before she took the sleeping medication.
She later told investigators that she was awoken to find the man’s hands under her clothes without her permission.
She reported the incident to flight attendants and Seuva’ai was moved to a different seat. On leaving the aircraft, he was arrested.
Although he allegedly admitted he had acted inappropriately to airline crew, Seuva’ai entered a plea of not guilty at court on Monday. He faces up to two years in prison.
Tom Simon, FBI Special Agent told Khon2: ‘To state the obvious, a woman should be able to fall asleep on an airplane without being groped by her seat mate.
‘Understanding that this defendant is innocent until proven guilty, let’s just say that it’s not the FBI’s job to tell a 22-year-old man to keep his hands to himself.’
He added that the FBI receive several harassment complaints on board flights each month.
Seuva’ai was released on $25,000 bond and is next due in court in September.