A 62-year-old Indian man has pleaded guilty to sexually touching a woman seated next to him aboard a flight from Houston to Newark and faces two years in prison.
The accused, Devender Singh, a resident of Louisiana, admitted before US District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark federal court to an information charging him with abusive sexual contact, US Attorney Paul Fishman said.
The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
According to the documents filed in the case, Singh was seated next to a woman who occupied a window seat on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark.
While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep and awoke to find him kissing her face with his hand inside her shirt.
After pushing Singh off of her and telling him to get away, the woman complained to a flight crew member about the incident and asked that the police be present when the plane landed.
The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur on aircraft in flight in the US.