LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A San Fernando Valley man is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger on a flight from London to Seattle earlier this year, prosecutors announced Thursday.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Babak Rezpour, 41, of Van Nuys, was on a Norwegian Air flight on Jan. 10 when he sexually assaulted the victim, who had taken a prescribed anti-anxiety medication and drank a glass of wine.
“After drinking the second glass, the victim became unusually sleepy,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “She awoke to find Rezapour sexually assaulting her.”
Hayes says Rezapour used his jacket to conceal the alleged assault from other passengers. The victim then fled to the back of the plane and reported the assault to flight attendants.
Rezapour is one of two men who were arrested in the last 24 hours for alleged abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft, according to Hayes.
The second case involves Nicholas Matthew Stevens, 37, of Anchorage, Alaska, who prosecutors say assaulted a victim on an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Seattle.
After initially sitting in an aisle seat, prosecutors say Stevens moved into a vacant seat between himself and the victim and began harassing her. When she pretended to be asleep, he allegedly grabbed her thigh and breast.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the victim contacted an Alaska employee who immediately contacted Port of Seattle Police.
“Reports of sexual assaults on aircraft are increasing, and we want the public to know these assaults are federal crimes and will be investigated and prosecuted consistent with the law,” said Hayes. “We urge the flying public to report assaults to airline personnel and law enforcement and assist victims who need help. The skies will be safer for all of us.”
Rezapour was expected to make his initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
If convicted as charged, he faces up to two years in prison.