FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A Berkeley Heights, N.J., man admitted today that he sexually abused a woman who was sleeping while on board a flight from Hong Kong to Newark Liberty International Airport, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ramesh Advani, 64, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to an Information charging him with abusive sexual contact.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made during Advani’s guilty plea proceeding:
On May 21, 2010, Advani was seated next to a woman while on board an overnight Continental flight from Hong Kong to Newark. While the plane was in the air over international waters, the victim fell asleep in her seat, covered with a blanket. While she was asleep, Advani reached his hand under the blanket and sexually abused her.
When the woman awoke, she realized what was happening and got up from her seat to inform the flight’s crew members.
The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur in American airplanes over international waters, because such crimes are not within the jurisdiction of any state.
The count to which Advani pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for August 1, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, for the investigation of this case. The President has designated April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in order to highlight an issue that impacts our society and to challenge citizens to learn more and become involved in finding solutions to a collective problem.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barbara Llanes and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: John Arlia, Esq., New York