POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2011
A 30-year-old man from Illinois appeared in federal court yesterday after his arrest for alleged unwanted sexual contact with a woman sitting next to him on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
FBI agents arrested Benjamin Beyer Wednesday in Pahoa on the Big Island. He allegedly touched the lap and a thigh of a female passenger several times Jan. 11 on a Delta Airlines flight.
He was charged with unwanted sexual contact.
The FBI said Beyer is from Winnebago, Ill.
The victim is the wife of a deployed soldier and was traveling with her young daughter.
The FBI said Beyer "smelled of alcohol," which he had smuggled aboard the Delta flight, and offered pills to his female seat mate which he said were either Vicodin or clonazepam, but she declined.
Beyer then took the pills and appeared to fall asleep.
However, the woman said that Beyer placed his arm on her lap and thigh several times. After Beyer grabbed her shoulders, the woman said she asked a flight attendant to move Beyer to another seat.
Beyer later told the FBI that he was traveling from Chicago to Hilo and that his flight had been delayed for three hours because of snow. He said that he had four beers at the airport bar and poured some of it into a silver metal bottle that he took with him on his flight to Honolulu.