In a disturbing news development that will undoubtedly make women more cognizant of their surroundings on airplane flights, a female airline passenger woke up horrified because a man next to her had stuck his hand down the front of her pants and had begun fondling her.
The female passenger, 19, said she was sexually assaulted on a Delta Airlines flight bound from Detroit to Amsterdam two years ago, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court.
But it wasn’t until Wednesday that criminal charges were filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit against the 32-year-old man, Janarol Dickens, who is charged with engaging in abusive sexual contact. He is an American citizen, but not from Michigan.
Authorities say American courts have jurisdiction over the crime because it was committed on an aircraft whose last departure was in the U.S.
Why did it took so long for the alleged pervert to be prosecuted?
According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, on June 10, 2012, the Norwegian woman boarded a Delta flight in Detroit, headed to Amsterdam. Sometime during the flight, Dickens, who was sitting next to the woman, engaged in a conversation with her and asked her if she wanted to watch a movie with him.
The woman declined the man’s offer and was soon in a slumber.
The woman was jolted awake because “Dickens’ hand was in her pants, underneath her underwear,” the affidavit stated according to the Detroit Free Press.
The woman bolted from her seat in terror, gathered her belongings, and approached the flight crew. The Woman was trembling as she tried to explain to the flight attendants through her tears how the sexual assault went down, according to the affidavit.
Predictably, the flight attendant assigned the frightened woman a new seat for the duration of the flight.
After landing in the Netherlands, Dickens was interviewed by the Dutch Royal Military Police. Initially, Dickens denied any sexual contact between him and the woman.
The complaint does not say what happened to Dickens after that. It mentions no further action taken by Dutch police.
Dickens did not return to the United States for two years. But when he landed back in America, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was waiting for him.
Thinking that the matter had all been forgotten about, Dickens thought it was safe to land at the Miami International Airport — but the FBI had other ideas. Dickens tried to lie about the Dutch police detainment or interview, but when the FBI mentioned the 2012 flight, he finally relented and admitted to being detained by Dutch police.
Still, Dickens was stubborn enough to admit remembering the flight to Amsterdam, but denied any contact with a woman, the records show.
Dickens, however, wilted under tough FBI interrogation, admitting he put his hand inside the woman’s pants for about 10 seconds, but outside her underwear. Dickens admitted that the woman never gave him permission to do that, records show.
That, the FBI agent concluded in his affidavit, amounts to a crime: engaging in sexual contact with another person without their permission.
Dickens’ whereabouts are not immediately known. Court documents do not yet list any attorney of record for him.