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Press Release

West Chester Man Pleads Guilty to Abusive Sexual Contact on an Aircraft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Edward Decker, 46, of West Chester, PA, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro to one count of abusive sexual contact on an aircraft. 

According to court documents, Decker, on or about July 29, 2022, while on board an American Airlines flight from San Diego, California to Philadelphia, intentionally touched the thigh and breast of a minor while she was sleeping. The victim woke up from her sleep on this overnight flight to find Decker, who was seated in her row, with his hands and face under her clothes and on her body.

“The facts of this case are incredibly disturbing — a parent’s nightmare, really,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Not only should people feel safe putting their kids on a plane to get from Point A to Point B, everyone should feel free to close their eyes mid-flight without fearing a seatmate’s intentions. We and the FBI will continue to crack down on these crimes aboard aircraft, to support and ensure justice for the victims.”

"This guilty plea demonstrates that those who commit sexual assault aboard aircrafts will be held responsible," said Wayne A. Jacobs, special agent in charge of FBI Philadelphia. "While our office will continue to aggressively pursue offenders, we encourage everyone to be aware of their surroundings while in flight and to report incidents of abusive sexual contact to their flight crew and the FBI.”

Sentencing is set for September 23, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. and the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of three years’ imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Josh A. Davison.

Updated May 21, 2024

Violent Crime