Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Offense Onboard Commercial Aircraft
An Indiana man pleaded guilty today to engaging in sexual contact with a sleeping woman on a flight from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Denver, Colorado.
According to court documents, Ian Wagner, 39, of New Haven, was a passenger on board a domestic flight from Indianapolis to Denver on Oct. 6, 2017. Wagner was seated next to an 18-year-old woman. During the flight, the woman fell asleep and later awoke to Wagner rubbing her inner thigh with his hand. After jerking away, the victim took a photograph of Wagner. The geolocation data associated with the photograph indicated that the plane was flying over Hastings, Nebraska.
The victim then left her seat, sought refuge in the restroom, but eventually returned because she believed the flight was full and no other seats would be available. After retaking her seat, she observed that Wagner had placed a jacket over his lap and his hand appeared to be moving up and down under the jacket. Wagner made eye contact with the victim and lifted his jacket to reveal his exposed penis. For over five minutes, Wagner masturbated while staring at the victim. Frightened and troubled by the incident, the victim lodged a complaint with the airline two days later and with criminal authorities in the following weeks.
Wagner pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15 and faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Wagner will be required to register as a sex offender.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Jan W. Sharp for the District of Nebraska, and Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan of the FBI's Indianapolis Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI’s Indianapolis Division Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Jamie B. Perry of the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessie L. Smith of the District of Nebraska are prosecuting the case.