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A Georgia doctor has been charged with abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft after he allegedly groped the crotch of the woman seated next to him on a Delta Air Lines flight to Maine. He was onboard flight DL 2138 from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Maine on March 17th to propose to his girlfriend and claims his hand slipped in the dark.
The Daily Mail is reporting that prosecutors in Maine served Dr. Jake Namjik Cho, 48, a Georgia based nephrologist (a doctor focused on kidney conditions), with a summons on June 1st. He will appear in federal court, tomorrow, June 8th. If convicted, Cho could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
When questioned by the FBI about the alleged incident, Cho said that he meant to squeeze the passenger’s upper thigh but his hand slipped “because [his] glasses were off and it was dark.” I’m not sure how squeezing any part of another passenger is okay.
The complainant said that Cho “moved his hand onto the seat in the space between him and [the woman], with his hand in contact with her thigh and buttocks. Cho “also moved his feet into [the woman’s] foot space and touched her feet with his feet.” Cho then allegedly “appeared to have spasmed and reached over [the woman’s] leg and down into her crotch.” He then “touched the outside of [the woman’s] genitals from the outside of her pants.”
During all of this, the female passenger claims that Cho appeared or pretended to be sleeping. When the plane landed in Portland, Cho allegedly jumped up, took his things, and deplaned quickly. The woman then filed the police report.
Initially, he told police that he did not touch the woman or even speak to her. But, upon further questioning, he revealed that he did touch her in what he claims in a manner that was “not sexual.”
Delta Air Lines issues the following statement:
[There is] zero tolerance for criminal activity of any type on our flights and at our airports. As such, we work with the requisite authorities when passengers engage in such activity to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
Anthony’s Take: I’m not in law or law enforcement, but it’s a good idea to not touch other passengers for any reason. Lying to investigators has likely only made this worse for Cho. It will be interesting to see the outcome when he has his day in court.
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