Louisiana Man Charged With Abusive Sexual Contact Of Sleeping Woman On Domestic Flight To New Jersey
NEWARK, N.J. — A Louisiana man appeared in Newark federal court today to face a charge that he sexually touched a sleeping woman who did not know him aboard a flight from Houston to Newark Liberty International Airport, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Devender Singh, 61, an Indian national who lives in Baton Rouge, was arrested on March 2, 2014 – the day his plane arrived in Newark – and was taken into federal custody by the FBI. He appeared this afternoon, to face a complaint charging him with one count of abusive sexual contact, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court and was detained with the option to request a bail hearing.
According to the complaint filed today:
Singh was seated next to a woman who occupied a window seat on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark. While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep. She awoke to find Singh kissing her face with his hand inside her shirt. Singh was also touching his exposed penis.
After pushing Singh off of her and telling him to get away, the woman went to the back of the plane and told a flight crew member what had happened, asking that the police be present when the plane landed.
The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur on aircraft in flight in the United States.
If convicted of the abusive sexual contact charge, Singh faces a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, and the Port Authority Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Michael A. Fedorko, with the investigation leading to the charge.
The government is represented by J. Jamari Buxton of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Assistant Federal Public Defender Candace Hom Esq., Newark