Federal prosecutors: New York man accused of groping woman aboard international flight

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NEWARK, New Jersey — Federal prosecutors say a New York man improperly touched a sleeping woman aboard a flight from Tokyo to New Jersey.

Eun Jong Lee was detained upon arrival Sunday night at Newark Liberty International Airport and was charged with abusive sexual contact. The 47-year-old Ithaca resident made his initial court appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Newark, where he was represented by a federal public defender, and prosecutors said he did not enter a plea during the session.

Lee faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Lee was seated next to a woman he did not know on a United Airlines flight from Tokyo to Newark. Prosecutors say that while the plane was in the air, the woman woke up to find Lee's hand on the front of her shirt, touching her breast through her clothing.

Lee then allegedly touched the skin of her neck and attempted to put his hand down the front of her shirt, prosecutors said, and the woman said she asked Lee to stop touching her. The woman reported the incident to a flight crew member and provided that person with a written statement describing what happened, prosecutors said.

An after-hours message for Lee's public defender was not returned.

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