September 2, 2023
NEWARK, N.J. – A Kuwaiti man appeared in federal court yesterday for alleged abusive sexual contact with a female passenger on a flight to Newark Liberty International Airport, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced.
Hasan Naser Hussain Alenezi, 18, of Kuwait, is charged by complaint with one count of abusive sexual contact on an airplane. He had an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte in Newark federal court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond, with home detention and GPS monitoring.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
While on a Nov. 27, 2022, flight from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, Alenezi sat next to a female passenger, who was seated next to the window, instead of sitting in his assigned seat. Alenezi was unknown to the victim. While seated next to the victim, Alenezi repeatedly touched her groin and leg without her permission.
The abusive sexual contact charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charge.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Chung of the Office’s OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Carol Dominguez Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
According to the Criminal Complaint attached below:
On or about November 27, 2022, defendant Hasan Naser Hussain Alenezi (“Alenezi”) was a male passenger aboard United States flight 645 (the “Flight”), departing from Los Angeles, California at approximately 10:55 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, and arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey at approximately 7:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, a flight commonly referred to as the “red eye,” given the timing.
A male passenger (“Passenger A”) was assigned to the middle seat in the same row as a female passenger (the “Victim”) who was seated in the window seat. However, upon boarding the aircraft, Alenezi sat in Passenger A’s seat, which was immediately adjacent to the Victim. Passenger A sat in Alenezi’s ticketed seat, which was in a different row. The Victim did not know Alenezi or Passenger A.
During the Flight, the Victim placed a blanket over her head in order to sleep. Some period of time later, the Victim awoke to find that Alenezi was tapping on her left leg. The Victim pushed Alenezi’s hand away, curled her legs and turned her body away from Alenezi, and tried to fall back asleep.
A short while later, the Victim was awoken again, this time to find that Alenezi had reached around the Victim’s curled legs and placed his hand on her groin on top of her clothing, without the Victim’s permission. Upon noticing Alenezi’s hand touching her groin, the Victim told Alenezi to stop, and that if he did not stop, she would report him to a flight attendant. The Victim repositioned her blanket to block her body from Alenezi.
At some point thereafter, the Victim felt Alenezi reach under the blanket and again touch her groin with his hand, without the Victim’s permission. Alenezi told the Victim, in sum and substance, “You know you want it,” at which point the Victim responded, “No I don’t.” The Victim, who was connected to the aircraft’s WiFi network, sent text messages to a close family member about the incident, who instructed the Victim to report Alenezi’s conduct to a flight attendant.
The Victim stood up from her seat and sought the assistance of a flight attendant (“Flight Attendant-1”). When the Victim told Flight Attendant-1 that Alenezi had touched her without her permission, Flight Attendant-1 relayed Alenezi’s complaint to the lead flight attendant (“Flight Attendant-2”), who moved the Victim to a new seat in the Business Class section for the remainder of the flight.