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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 6, 2020

Nevada Man Charged With Sexual Assault Aboard Aircraft En Route To Las Vegas

RENO, Nev. – Daniel A. Parkhurst made his initial court appearance today related to a federal charge for abusive sexual contact during a flight from Seattle to Las Vegas, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI.

“Sexual assault aboard an aircraft is when unwelcome inappropriate touching without consent occurs,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “If you think you are a victim of sexual assault aboard an aircraft or you have witnessed an incident, report it to your flight crew and contact the FBI. Try to take note of what has happened to better inform the responding agent or officer at the airport upon landing.”

Parkhurst, 38, of Gardnerville, Nevada, was charged with one count of interference with flight crew members and attendants and one count of abusive sexual conduct. He was arrested without incident Thursday afternoon in Gardnerville. United States Magistrate Judge Carla Baldwin scheduled a trial on May 5, 2020.

According to the indictment, on October 31, 2019, Parkhurst intimidated flight crew members and flight attendants on a Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle to Las Vegas. He allegedly touched another person on the upper inner thigh without the person’s consent. As alleged, he created a disturbance by engaging in abusive sexual conduct and interfered with the performance of duties of the flight crew. As a result, the aircraft was diverted from its flight to Las Vegas and landed in Reno.

The total maximum statutory sentence is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Parkhurst also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is a product of an investigation by the FBI, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport Police Department, and the Office of the Nevada Attorney General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy St. Clair is prosecuting the case.

If you think you are a victim of sexual assault aboard an aircraft, report the incident to your flight crew and to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or contact your local FBI office.

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Updated March 6, 2020