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Alaska Airlines passenger captured by FBI after repeatedly groping woman on flight

Dennis Bostick pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit a felony in a plea deal for groping his seatmate throughout an Alaska Airlines flight from San Diego to Seattle.

A passenger who repeatedly groped a woman seated beside him on a flight has been banned from Alaska Airlines and faces prison time.

Desmond D. Bostick, 25, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit a felony on April 11, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington wrote in a news release. 

He admitted to repeatedly touching the woman, a stranger, to "arouse his sexual desires" on the June 20 Alaska Airlines flight from San Diego to Seattle, according to his plea agreement filed in Seattle federal court. 

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During the flight, Bostick used a blanket to cover his hand while he caressed the woman's thigh throughout an over three-hour-long flight, only stopping when other passengers passed to use the restroom, according to court documents. 

He also squeezed the woman's butt twice as she stood up to let another passenger exit into the aisle and return to their window seat, prosecutors said. 

The woman was "too scared to speak, but repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, attempted to shift her body away from Bostick," court documents said. 

When the flight landed in Seattle, Bostick "quickly" left, according to court records, and the woman "immediately" told Alaska Airlines flight attendants what had transpired, prompting a police investigation.

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Airline personnel provided Bostick's identity to Port of Seattle Police. An officer found a photo of him on Facebook and showed it to the woman, who confirmed he was the man who groped her, court documents said. 

Bostick was indicted for abusive sexual contact in September, prosecutors said. The FBI stepped in when law enforcement was unable to locate him after he left the airport, finding and arresting him on Feb. 9. 

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An Alaska Airlines spokesperson told the Miami Herald that Bostick is "no longer allowed to travel on Alaska or Horizon," another airline owned by the Alaska Air Group. 

Prosecutors are recommending a nine-month prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office release – but U.S. District Judge Jamal N. Whitehead is not bound by their recommendation, and the maximum sentence for Bostick's charge is 10 years, they wrote. 

Bostick's defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. 

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