Tulsa, Oklahoma – An Utah man accused of fiddling with a passenger on an American Airlines flight to Salt Lake City who had to be diverted to Tulsa for detention has been charged with sexual assault.
The federal prosecutor filed charges on Friday against the man, identified in court records as James Clayton Cholewinski-Boy, 32.
An FBI agent said in a sworn statement that Cholewinski touched the arm of a woman sitting next to him on Tuesday, and she withdrew the man's hands. The woman said that Cholewinski then put a hand on her crotch, and she withdrew her hand and told him to stop, at which point the man raised his hands and told him he was sorry.RELATED
Flight attendants assigned other seats to the woman and her daughter. The American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Salt Lake City made an unscheduled landing in Tulsa, where Cholewinski was arrested. The airport police accused him of intoxication on public roads and then handed the case to the FBI, the agency that filed the complaint for sexual assault.
Cholewinski lives in Murray, Utah, according to federal officials who believe the man also uses the surname Cholewinski-Boyd.
At the moment it is unknown if the defendant has a lawyer who can make statements on his behalf. Tulsa jail records indicate that Cholewinski was released on Wednesday. A prison official said the man was released on the promise that he will appear in court for the charges.
In April, a Los Angeles-based agent said the FBI received 63 reports of sexual assault on flights in fiscal year 2018, a figure that represents an increase compared to 38 cases recorded in fiscal year 2014. The agent, David Gates, added that "one could say that many of the incidents are not reported." He indicated that they mostly involve unwanted flushing.