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Hilo man charged with sex assault of fellow airline passenger

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FBI agents arrested a 29-year-old Hilo man for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger aboard a Japan Airlines flight from Honolulu to Japan.

The incident allegedly occurred on Oct. 11 aboard Japan Airlines Flight 791.

According to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent, Michael Tanouye followed a female passenger into a bathroom and forcefully removed her clothing. The passenger’s mother alerted flight attendants who subdued Tanouye with the help of other passengers, the agent stated.

The affidavit noted that Tanouye’s mother, who was also on the flight, indicated to flight attendants that Tanouye had psychological issues and was on medication.

The plane was two hours into its flight at the time of the incident. The plane returned to Honolulu, where Tanouye was taken into custody by Honolulu sheriffs and subsequently arrested by Honolulu FBI agents.

Tanouye was charged Monday with aggravated sexual assault and interfering with a flight crew. He is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.

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