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Press Release

Seattle man convicted at trial of abusive sexual contact on Air France flight from Paris to Seattle

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant preyed on high school student returning from school field trip

Seattle – A 35-year 0ld Seattle man was convicted late Friday December 8, 2023, of abusive sexual contact on a flight from Paris to Seattle, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Milan Edward Jurkovic was convicted following a three-day jury trial. The jury deliberated about three hours before reaching its verdict. Jurkovic faces up to two years in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on March 21, 2024.

“Last summer, I joined with our law enforcement partners to call attention to a spike in sexual misconduct on aircraft – crimes such as this one that are traumatizing for victims,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “This case should be a warning to anyone who thinks that in the confines of an aircraft cabin they can get away with unwanted sexual touching. We will prosecute and the penalties are significant.”

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, on July 3, 2022, Jurkovic was a passenger on an Air France flight from Paris to Seattle. Also on the flight was a school group from Western Washington. The students were returning from a class trip abroad. The 16-year-0ld victim was seated next to Mr. Jurkovic.

About three hours into the flight, Jurkovic reached under the Air France blanket covering the victim and began groping the victim’s thigh. The victim was shocked and frozen with fear. Jurkovic proceeded to rub her thigh for an extended period of time, touching her inner thigh, before the victim was able to pull away and seek assistance from a classmate and then her chaperone. The chaperone traded places with the victim for the duration of the flight.

The incident was reported to the flight crew, and Port of Seattle Police met the flight as it arrived at SEA Airport. The victim was interviewed by law enforcement. Jurkovic provided contradictory statements to different audiences. Initially, he told the chaperone he had been rubbing his leg due to bad circulation, suggesting that he inadvertently touched the victim. Later, after being told by a Port of Seattle officer that he was under investigation for allegedly assaulting the passenger seated next to him, Jurkovic said he did not hurt anyone. He later volunteered that he had an itch on his leg. He was indicted by a grand jury on January 4, 2023, and arrested January 30, 2023.

In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury, Jurkovic assaulted the girl “for his own sexual gratification . . . The defendant was counting on (the victim) not being strong enough and brave enough to stop him.”

Abusive sexual contact is punishable by up to two years in prison.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Port of Seattle Police.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rachel Yemini and Brian Wynne.

Contact

Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.

Updated February 13, 2024

Topic
Violent Crime