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Diamond Bar man sentenced for groping sleeping woman on flight

A Diamond Bar man was sentenced Thursday to 21 months in federal prison for intentionally touching the inner thigh of a sleeping woman seated next to him on a flight from Cleveland to Los Angeles in February 2020.

Mohammad Ansari, 50, was also ordered to pay a $33,750 fine, $1,600 in restitution, a $100 special assessment and an additional $5,000 special assessment. Furthermore, Ansari was ordered to register as a sex offender, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ansari was found guilty in May of one count of abusive sexual contact.

Evidence presented at the four-day trial showed that on Feb. 17, 2020, Ansari boarded a flight from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. Ansari occupied a 10th-row window seat while the victim occupied the middle seat next to him. The victim, who was wearing a dress, fell asleep shortly after takeoff and the arm rest separating Ansari from the victim was down.

At some point during the flight to Los Angeles, Ansari placed his left hand on the victim’s right knee and knowingly, intentionally and without the victim’s consent, moved his hand to her inner thigh. The person sitting in the 10th-row aisle seat next to the victim witnessed Ansari’s hand touching the victim’s inner thigh.

The victim woke up, pushed Ansari’s hand away, left her seat and informed a flight attendant about what had happened. The flight’s attendants observed Ansari during the remainder of the flight and believed he was pretending to sleep, evidence presented in Los Angeles federal court showed.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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