Pomona Man Found Guilty of Abusive Sexual Contact on Flight

Mature man lying on bed in prison cell, rear view

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Pomona man was found guilty today of a federal offense for intentionally touching the inner thigh of a sleeping woman seated next to him on a flight from Cleveland to Los Angeles in February 2020.

Mohammad Jawad Ansari, 49, was found guilty of one count of abusive sexual contact, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Evidence presented at a four-day trial showed that on Feb. 17, 2020, Ansari boarded a flight from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. Ansari occupied a 10th-row window seat while the victim occupied the middle seat next to him. The victim, who was wearing a dress, fell asleep shortly after takeoff and the arm rest separating Ansari from the victim was down.

At some point during the flight to Los Angeles, Ansari placed his left hand on the victim's right knee and knowingly, intentionally, and without the victim's consent, moved his hand to her inner thigh. The person sitting in the 10th-row aisle seat next to the victim witnessed Ansari's hand touching the victim's inner thigh. The victim woke up, pushed Ansari's hand away, left her seat, and informed a flight attendant about what had happened. The flight's attendants observed Ansari during the remainder of the flight and believed he was pretending to sleep, evidence showed.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha scheduled a Sept. 29 sentencing hearing, at which time Ansari will face up to two years in federal prison, prosecutors noted.

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