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December 22, 2016

Prosecutors: New Jersey man sexually assaults sleeping woman on flight from India

A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger onboard a flight from India to Newark, New Jersey, federal prosecutors said.

Ganesh Parkar, 40, of Windsor, Mercer County, was charged with one count of abusive sexual contact on an airplane, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Thursday.

Authorities said Parkar, who is an Indian citizen, was aboard an Air India flight that departed from Mumbai. His ticketed seat was located in business class, but he moved to the economy section to sit next to a female passenger. The two did not know each other and had limited conversation during the flight, according to the complaint.

The woman fell asleep at some point but woke up when Parkar allegedly slipped his hand under her shirt and onto her breast. The victim immediately shouted and informed the flight crew about the incident.

After returning to his assigned seat, Parkar wrote an apology note to the victim for the "moment's stupidity." The note read, "I acknowledged I was stupid."

If convicted, Parkar faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.