Passenger kept groping woman on flight, ‘quickly’ left once plane landed, feds say

A man who is now banned from flying with Alaska Airlines wouldn’t stop groping a woman seated next to him on a flight from San Diego to Seattle in June, according to federal prosecutors.

Desmond D. Bostick, 25, of Federal Way, Washington, pleaded guilty on April 11 to assault with intent to commit a felony in relation to the incident, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington announced in a news release.

In doing so, he agreed he repeatedly touched the woman, who he didn’t know, to “arouse his sexual desires” on the June 20 Alaska Airlines flight, according to his plea agreement filed in Seattle federal court.

Now a judge could sentence Bostick up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

His court-appointed federal public defender, Dennis Carroll, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on Feb. 13.

When the plane landed in Seattle, Bostick “quickly” left, and the woman next to him “immediately” reported to a flight attendant that he assaulted her, according to a trial brief.

During the flight, Bostick kept touching the woman’s thigh and only stopped when other travelers walked by to use the bathroom, the trial brief says.

He used a blanket to hide his hand while touching her, according to the brief, which says the woman “was too scared to speak, but repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, attempted to shift her body away from Bostick.”

Bostick also grabbed her butt, twice, as she stood up to let another passenger exit and return to their window seat in the row, prosecutors said.

After the woman alerted flight attendants to what happened, authorities launched an investigation, according to the trial brief.

Alaska Airlines personnel provided Bostick’s identity to a Port of Seattle Police Department officer, who found a photo of him on Facebook and showed it to the woman, the trial brief says. She confirmed Bostick was the man in the photo, according to the brief.

However, law enforcement couldn’t find Bostick after he left the airport that day, according to prosecutors.

With his whereabouts unknown, Bostick was indicted on a charge of abusive sexual contact aboard the aircraft in September, prosecutors said, McClatchy News previously reported.

Several months later, the FBI found him on Feb. 9 and arrested him, according to prosecutors.

An Alaska Airlines spokesperson told McClatchy News on Feb. 13 that Bostick “is no longer allowed to travel on Alaska or Horizon,” a subsidiary of the Alaska Air Group.

Since Bostick agreed to plead guilty, prosecutors and his defense counsel will recommend that he be sentenced to nine months in federal prison, the attorney’s office said.

U.S. District Judge Jamal N. Whitehead is not bound by the recommendation and will decide on Bostick’s sentence at a hearing scheduled for July 18, according to the attorney’s office.

Federal Way, where Bostick is from, is about a 10 mile drive northeast from Tacoma.

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