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Press Release

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Lewd Behavior on a Flight from Newark to Boston

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

BOSTON – A Florida man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to performing a lewd act aboard an aircraft in flight from Newark to Boston on Friday, April 8, 2022.

Donald Edward Robinson, 76, of Bonita Springs, Fla., pleaded guilty to one count of lewd, indecent and obscene acts while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler scheduled sentencing for March 2, 2023. Robinson was arrested and charged on April 10, 2022.

On or about April 8, 2022, Robinson engaged in masturbation and exposed himself to a 21-year-old female passenger seated next to him while onboard a flight from Newark to Boston. Robinson then placed his hand on top of the victim’s thigh without her consent.

Shortly after departure, the victim recorded a 24-second video of Robinson fondling and manipulating his penis through his pants. A short time later, the victim looked over and saw that Robinson had exposed his penis. Approximately five minutes before landing, Robinson placed his hand on the victim’s thigh, prompting the victim to ask why he was touching her, to which Robinson withdrew his hand and looked out the window. The victim then got the attention of another passenger and displayed a message on her phone, “Hi, this man assaulted me and touched my leg and is masturbating.”

During the deplaning process, the victim approached a flight attendant about the incident but was unable to point Robinson out due to the volume of passengers deplaning. Security footage captured Robinson, upon exiting the secure area of the terminal, repeatedly looking back in the direction from which he came while proceeding to the baggage carousel level.

The charge of lewd, indecent and obscene acts while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States provides for a sentence of up to 90 days in prison, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $5,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Dell’Anno of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 29, 2022