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Man detained following alleged sexual battery on plane landing in San Diego

Posted at 6:45 PM, May 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 09:22:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A man was detained Sunday after being accused in a sexual battery incident that took place on a plane landing at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.

San Diego Harbor Police confirmed a man was in his early 20s was detained following a call from Sun Country Airlines regarding an incident that allegedly happened during a flight.

The call came in shortly before 4 p.m., about 30 minutes before the plane landed.

According to the airport's web site, the plane was landing in San Diego from Minneapolis. Sun Country Airline's web site says they are based out of Minneapolis.

Harbor Police said the FBI questioned the man and the alleged victim. 10News learned the man accused in the case was released from custody.

The FBI is handling the investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case.

Details on the incident were not immediately released.

The FBI said sexual assaults on planes are on the rise. Any sexual assault on a plane is a felony.

They provided these suggestions:

Trust your gut. Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes pretending to brush against them to see how they react or if they wake up. “Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt,” Gates said. If such behavior occurs, reprimand the person immediately, and consider asking to be moved to another seat. Recognize that mixing alcohol with sleeping pills or other medication on an overnight flight increases your risk. “Don’t knock yourself out with alcohol or drugs,” Gates said. If your seatmate is a stranger, no matter how polite he or she may seem, keep the armrest between you down. If you are arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied, try to reserve an aisle seat so flight attendants can keep a closer watch on them. Highley has seen victims as young as 8 years old. If an incident happens, report it immediately to the flight crew and ask that they record the attacker’s identity and report the incident. “Flight attendants and captains represent authority on the plane,” Gates said. “We don’t want them to be police officers, but they can alert law enforcement, and they can sometimes deal with the problem in the air.” The flight crew can also put the offender on notice, which might prevent further problems. If alerted in advance, FBI agents can be on hand when the plane lands to conduct interviews and take subjects into custody. FBI victim specialists can respond as well, because victims of federal crimes are entitled by law to a variety of services.