An American Airlines flight was diverted to Oklahoma after a man grabbed a passenger seated next to him “by the crotch,” according to a federal criminal complaint filed Friday.
James Clayton Cholewinski-Boy was charged with abusive sexual contact after Tuesday’s reported assault aboard American Airlines Flight 807 from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Salt Lake City, Utah, the complaint said.
It’s unclear whether Cholewinski-Boy has an attorney.
The alleged victim, identified as “E.J.” in the complaint, was seated between Cholewinski-Boy and her daughter. Shortly after takeoff, he began touching the woman’s arm and she repeatedly pushed his hands away, according to the complaint.
Cholewinski-Boy then “forcibly grabbed her by the crotch,” the complaint said. The woman again pushed his hand away and demanded that he stop.
“Cholewinski-Boy threw up his hands and said ‘sorry,'” according to the complaint.
The woman notified the flight crew, who moved mother and daughter to another part of the aircraft.
The pilot diverted the flight to Tulsa International Airport, where Cholewinski-Boy was arrested by airport police for public intoxication, the complaint said.
He was released Wednesday on his own recognizance, the Tulsa Municipal Jail told CNN.
“The public should know these allegations pertain to criminal sexual misconduct by Mr. Cholewinski-Boy against a female passenger, not a threat to the plane or air travel,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Trent Shores, said in a statement.
American Airlines, in a statement, said: “The quick actions of our crew ensured the safety and wellbeing of our customers on the flight.”