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Press Release

New York Man Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Assault on Airplane

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A New York man was sentenced to 24 months in prison for assaulting a female passenger on a flight to Newark Liberty International Airport, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Ryan Manuella, 30, of Cheektowaga, New York, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to assault with intent to commit another felony, namely, stalking, while on an airplane. Manuella was ordered detained without bond. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence on Nov. 16, 2023, in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On a flight from Denver, Colorado, to Newark, on April 16, 2021, Manuella moved to a vacant seat next to a female passenger and touched the passenger without her consent. Manuella admitted the victim then yelled at him and left the row of seats. He admitted that touching the victim caused her substantial emotional distress.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Manuella to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and officers of the Port Authority Police Department with the investigation leading to the sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys DeNae M. Thomas and Katherine M. Romano of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

Updated November 17, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-338