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Plane forced to divert after passenger claims man grabbed her 'by the crotch' during flight: FBI

The New York Daily News - 11/8/2019

Nov. 8--An American Airlines flight was forced to divert to Oklahoma this week after a man repeatedly touched a fellow passenger and grabbed her "by the crotch," federal authorities said Friday.

James Cholewinski-Boy, who's now charged with engaging in unwanted sexual contact, was sitting in an aisle seat next to the victim when he began touching the woman's arm, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Daily News.

The incident happened Tuesday aboard a plane traveling from Charlotte, N.C., to Salt Lake City, Utah, while the victim's daughter sat just inches away -- in the window seat.

The woman told police she kept pushing his hands away from her, but the man allegedly continued the abuse and then "grabbed her by the crotch," an FBI agent wrote in the complaint.

Authorities said the flight crew was notified and moved the woman and her daughter to a different part of the plane before deciding to divert the flight to Tulsa International Airport.

Cholewinski-Boy was then removed from the flight and charged with public intoxication. He was formally charged with the sexual offense in federal court on Friday.

"The public should know these allegations pertain to criminal sexual misconduct by Mr. Cholewinski-Boy against a female passenger, not a threat to the plane or air travel," U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, of the Northern District of Oklahoma, said in a statement.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation along with Tulsa International Airport law enforcement officers responded swiftly and professionally to this situation as soon as the plane touched down in Tulsa," he said. "The FBI will investigate this matter moving forward. I am thankful for the men and women of law enforcement who work to ensure the safety and security of the traveling public."


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