A Minnesota man has been sentenced to prison after prosecutors say he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy while on a airplane.
On April 8, 2019, Neeraj Chopra was on a JetBlue flight from Boston to Minneapolis when he was seated in the middle seat next to a 16-year-old boy, court documents said.
During the flight, 41-year-old Chopra draped a blanket over his lap and allowed it to cover part of the minor’s leg, prosecutors said in a Jan. 28 release. He then put his hand under the blanket, touching the 16-year-old’s groin and thigh, court documents said.
Chopra’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.
The teen multiple times attempted to move away from Chopra and asked him to stop touching him, according to court documents and the news release. Chopra continued to encroach on the boy’s personal space, and the boy began taking photos of the encounter as proof, court documents said.
The 16-year-old felt so uncomfortable he began to cry due to Chopra’s repeated touching, the documents said.
The boy got the attention of his brother, who was seated in front of him, and when the flight landed, his family spoke with law enforcement, the court documents said.
During the three-day trial, Chopra said he touched the boy’s inner thigh, groin and genitals “unintentionally” while having a “bad dream” on the flight. According to sentencing documents, the jury rejected this and found Chopra guilty of abusive sexual contact.
Chopra was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need someone to talk to, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline for support at 1-800-656-4673 or visit the hotline’s online chatroom.
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