Devender Singh, who lives in Baton Rouge, was arrested on Sunday by the FBI after the plane arrived in Newark. He appeared in New Jersey Court yesterday to face a complaint charging him with one count of abusive sexual contact.
If convicted, Singh faces a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
The 61-year-old accused faces maximum punishment of 2-year imprisonment
According to the filed complaint, Singh was seated next to a woman who occupied a window seat on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark. The woman did not know Singh.
While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep. Prosecutors said Singh allegedly kissed her face and sexually assaulted her while she was sleeping.
"After pushing Singh off of her and telling him to get away, the woman went to the back of the plane and told a flight crew member what had happened, asking that the police be present when the plane landed," federal prosecutors said. Federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur on aircraft in flight in the United States.