Woman admits sexually assaulting female passenger on flight

Woman facing jail time for mid-air groping incident


A woman is facing jail time after admitting to groping another female passenger on board a plane.

Heidi McKinney, 27, carried out the assault on an Alaska Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Portland.

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Her victim complained to staff that she had been touched on the breast and genitals without her consent during the flight on 8 May 2015.

According to the Evening Standard, Assistant US Attorney Ravi Sinha said at US District Court in Portland: "Miss McKinney did so with the intent to humiliate and harass the victim.

"(She) both made contact with victim's body, including her inner thigh, and made a series of profane and lewd statements to the victim."

Ms McKinney pleaded guilty to assault with the intent to commit a felony. The maximum penalty is 10 years and a $250,000 fine, but Ms Sinha and defence attorney Lisa Ludwig plan to jointly recommend a sentence of three years on probation. It will be down to the judge's discretion whether to accept the recommendation.

The Independent reports that court documents show Ms McKinney has twice been convicted of driving under the influence.

Records show that her fiancé told officials at the jail where Ms McKinney was booked that her body did not metabolise alcohol like most people and "this is what happens".

She is out of custody on a number of conditions, including that she doesn't use alcohol or drugs.

Her sentencing is scheduled for 19 June.

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