Indian man arrested for sexually assaulting woman on US flight

New York: A 58-year old Indian man has been charged with sexually touching a woman sitting next to him on a flight from Los Angeles to New Jersey.

Veerabhadrarao Kunam, a resident of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is charged by the complaint with one count of abusive sexual contact.

He appeared before US Magistrate Judge Joseph Dickson yesterday in Newark federal court and was released on a USD 50,000 secured bond.

The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.

Kunam was arrested on July 30 when his flight arrived at Newark and was taken into federal custody by the FBI.

According to the complaint, Kunam was seated next to a woman who occupied a middle seat on a flight from Los Angeles to Newark.

While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep. She woke up to find Kunam sexually touching her.

Upon noticing Kunam touching her, the victim alerted her male travel companion who traded seats with her and confronted Kunam.

The accused allegedly told the victim's travel companion that he wanted everyone to forget about the incident and offered to buy the travel companion a drink for any trouble he may have caused.

PTI