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Man who groped woman on plane sentenced to 8 years

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:49 p.m. HST, Jan 29, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. >> A New Jersey man who sexually abused a sleeping woman on a cross-country flight was sentenced today to eight years in prison.

Bawer Aksal was convicted last summer of sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact stemming from an incident on a United Airlines flight from Phoenix to Newark in August 2012.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares sentenced Aksal to 97 months in prison and three years' supervised probation. He also will have to register as a sex offender.

The 50-year-old victim, who testified at Aksal's trial under an alias because of the nature of the charges, told the court she awoke to find Aksal reaching around from behind her to fondle her breasts with one hand and sticking his other hand down her underpants and penetrating her with his fingers.

The woman said she immediately pushed Aksal away and got up to notify flight attendants.

A flight attendant testified that the woman was shaking and crying after the encounter, and a man who sat next to Aksal testified that he saw Aksal in a "spooning" position with the woman with one hand under a sweater on her lap and the other around her shoulders.

DNA samples were taken from Aksal and the woman, but tests at an FBI lab weren't conclusive, an expert testified during the trial.

Aksal claimed the woman's account of the incident contained inconsistencies and that the alleged assault couldn't have happened the way she described it.

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cojef wrote:
In Turkey he probably would have gotten away Scot free, being as the Muslims have laws that do not favor the woman gender. Like for rape you must have 5 male witnesses.
on January 29,2014 | 11:48AM
joseph007 wrote:
In Hawaii, he would have gotten at the most probation.
on January 30,2014 | 07:51AM
Solara wrote:
8 years is excessive. Why crowd the prisons with wrong miscreants like this guy when he could most likely be "re-educated" outside of the penal system?
on January 29,2014 | 12:02PM
Mahalo wrote:
SERIOUSLY!!! what if this was an 8 year old girl??? What is the difference if he used his "thing" instead of his finger?? She was RAPED and rapist need to be put away..
on January 29,2014 | 12:32PM
inHilo wrote:
Now you are sentenced by "what ifs?" So you hit someone with your hand but what if it was with a bat, and what if you broke his arm? 8 years. Terrible crime but 8 years? Doubt anything will cure him; maybe eight years in a mental institution.
on January 30,2014 | 05:41AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
I think its because he penetrated the victim with his fingers so its considered rape.....on the other hand if he only groped her...he might have gotten a lesser sentence......
on January 29,2014 | 12:35PM
wave1 wrote:
I don't quite see how this happened> Was Bawer seated behind the lady or next to the lady? There is no way you can spoon someone on a United flight. I fly direct from Honolulu to Newark on United and could not spoon or do the above with my wife even if we wanted to. The seats are two small and cramped, and the arm rest are in the way even when in the up postion. And did not the man seated next to the lady wonder what the heck is going on?
on January 29,2014 | 12:35PM
wave1 wrote:
I don't quite understand how this happened. Was Bawer sitting behind or next to the lady? Don't see how they could spoon on these cramped airline seats. I fly direct on United from Honlulu to Newark and could not spoon with my wife if we wanted to. The armrest between the seats does not even raise fully. And what about the man sitting next to the lady, did not he wonder what the heck was going on?
on January 29,2014 | 12:41PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Sadly our judges and politicians seem to think that this behavior only deserves a slap on the wrist. The exact same thing happened to a friend and the married guy from Kauai was only charged with a few hours of community service and had to register as an offender.
on January 29,2014 | 01:07PM
FinzyKontini wrote:
8 years for groping. 2 years for murder. 'Murica.
on January 29,2014 | 05:38PM
SueH wrote:
He should have murdered her....he'd be out of prison sooner.
on January 29,2014 | 06:42PM
SueH wrote:
Now he'll have 8 years sitting in a prison cell to come up with a better defense.
on January 29,2014 | 06:40PM
Anonymous wrote:
Our criminal justice system is so confusing. While this guy deserved his sentence, how is it that other serious offenders are given much lighter sentences?
on January 30,2014 | 06:05AM
joseph007 wrote:
In Hawaii, he would have gotten at the most probation.
on January 30,2014 | 07:50AM
Motherof9 wrote:
Isn't this what that former legislator from Waikiki got caught doing a few years back - groping a woman who had passed out next to him? He was convicted but never did any jail time. What the hey! What was his name? Tribble? Dribble?
on January 30,2014 | 12:01PM
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