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Press Release

New York Man Charged with Abusive Sexual Contact on Airplane

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A New York man made his initial appearance today for alleged abusive sexual contact with a female passenger on a flight to Newark Liberty International Airport, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Ryan Manuella, 28, of Cheektowaga, New York, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of abusive sexual contact on an airplane. He had his initial appearance by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jessica S. Allen in Newark federal court and was detained.

According to the complaint:

While on an April 16, 2021, flight from Denver, Colorado, to Newark, Manuella moved to a vacant center seat next to a female passenger, who was sitting in a window seat. Manuella was unknown to the victim. While seated next to the victim, Manuela touched her on the groin and inner thigh without her permission.

The abusive sexual contact charge carries a maximum term of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and officers of the Port Authority Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent of Police Edward Cetnar, with the investigation leading to the charge.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hayden M. Brockett of the Health Care Fraud 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.

Updated April 19, 2021

Press Release Number: 21-140