A Florida man has been charged with abusive sexual conduct for allegedly groping a woman on a Southwest Airlines flight. Later, while handcuffed in the pack of a patrol car, he told authorities President Trump "says it's OK to grab women by their private parts," according to court documents.
Bruce Michael Alexander, 49, was arrested after Flight 5421 landed in Albuquerque Sunday from Houston. He had twice touched a female passenger's breast during the journey, an affidavit filed in federal court says.
The woman told investigators she had fallen asleep after takeoff, and about 15 to 20 minutes into the flight she felt a hand on the right side of her sweater. The hand moved around her "bra line," she said. She said she assumed it was an accident.
But about 30 minutes later, she said she "felt fingers slowly grab the back of her arm, squeezing above the elbow" and then groping her right breast, the document says.
At that point, she she stood up, turned around, and told the man sitting behind her that it was not OK for him to touch her. She then asked a flight attendant for a new seat.
Uniformed officers met the plane at the gate and questioned the woman and Alexander, the affidavit says. Alexander was booked on a federal sexual abuse charge.
In the back of a law enforcement vehicle, he "stated that the president of the United States says it's OK to grab women by their private parts,'" the affidavit says.
He told investigators he slept most of the flight. The jetliner's crew summoned police to meet the flight because of "alleged inappropriate behavior on board," Southwest said in a statement.
Alexander was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. He could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.