Man sentenced to almost 2 years for groping sleeping woman on flight

A Southern California man who groped a sleeping woman on a flight to Los Angeles was sentenced to almost two years in prison Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

Mohammad Jawad Ansari, 50, was found guilty by a jury in May of one count of abusive sexual contact, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a statement.

Ansari was sentenced to 21 months and ordered to pay $1,600 in restitution and a $33,750 fine, according to court records.

He placed his hand on the knee and then the inner thigh of a passenger who was sleeping in the seat next to him on a flight from Cleveland to Los Angeles on Feb. 17, 2020, the office said.

The woman woke up, pushed away Ansari’s hand and got up and told a flight attendant.

Prosecutors called it “outrageous and sexually predatory conduct” that warranted prison time. They asked for a two-year sentence in a court filing.

The woman did not know Ansari and the abusive contact happened over the course of up to an hour, prosecutors said.

Ansari’s attorney, Caleb E Mason, said that they plan to appeal his conviction.

Mason argued in a court filing that he has been a law-abiding, upstanding person his whole life and the conduct of which he was convicted is aberrant and not typical of him.

The victim still has trouble sleeping on flights because she’s worried someone will touch her, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

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