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A female plane passenger woke up from a mid-flight nap to find a male passenger allegedly groping her breast.
The woman was travelling on a United Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Washington when she fell asleep, waking up to find 26-year-old Ivan Lopez Jr "rubbing her right breast", according to officials.
Prosecutors have said that the woman then shouted: "Get away from me."
After the victim had realised what was happening, Lopez then supposedly walked to the back of the plane and admitted to a flight attendant that he had "sexually assaulted" the woman.
To protect the female passenger, the flight attendant moved Lopez from the 12th row of seats to the 21st.
He is now facing a charge of abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft and up to two years behind bars.
A statement from officials read: "According to court documents, it is alleged that Lopez was a passenger on a commercial flight from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport on December 24, 2021.
"During the flight, the passenger seated next to Lopez fell asleep. The indictment alleges that she awoke to Lopez repeatedly rubbing her right breast.
"When the passenger opened her eyes, she allegedly observed Lopez leaning over her and his right hand was placed on her right breast.
"The passenger allegedly yelled at Lopez and he moved to the back of the aircraft, where he allegedly admitted to a flight attendant that he sexually assaulted the woman."
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According to an affidavit, Lopez told an FBI agent that turbulence caused him to 'accidentally' touch the woman's breast, as he was trying to poke her on the right shoulder to ask what she was listening to in her headphones.
However, the victim told the FBI that the contact was 'not accidental' and lasted for roughly 10 seconds.
The flight attendant has also confirmed that Lopez admitted to groping the woman, adding that 'he thought was in trouble and was sorry'.
If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.
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