HOUSTON – A Japanese man is in custody of law enforcement after a woman who sat next to him on a flight from Japan to Texas reported that he had sexually assaulted her.
Mitsuaki Takahashi, 36, a Japanese national, has been ordered into custody for abusive sexual contact, a U.S. Attorney said in a statement.
Takahashi was arrested Aug. 21, 2014, upon the arrival of a United Airlines flight from Japan at Bush Intercontinental Airport. According to the criminal complaint filed that day, while onboard, Takahashi sat next to a 21-year-old female. The complaint alleges that during the flight, Takahashi initiated unsolicited sexual contact with the victim. Takahashi allegedly touched her breast and leg and placed his hand under the victim’s skirt and underwear on at least two occasions during the flight. He also allegedly penetrated the woman digitally and went so far as to take a photograph of her genitalia.
At the conclusion of a hearing last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge George Hanks found probable cause Takahashi committed the charged offenses and a potential flight risk and ordered he be detained pending further criminal proceedings.
If convicted, Takahashi faces up to two years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack is prosecuting the case.