Last updated: 04:12 PM ET, Sat June 18 2016

Sex Offender Gropes Woman Attempting To Sleep On Flight

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | June 18, 2016

Sex Offender Gropes Woman Attempting To Sleep On Flight

Photo illustration courtesy of Thinkstock

A registered sex offender has been accused of groping a female passenger who attempted to sleep during a flight from Tel Aviv to Newark last month, authorities said.

The incident happened on May 29 aboard an El Al flight.

The man, 35-year old Yoel Oberlander from the New York City suburb of Monsey, was arrested and charged with sexual abuse Friday by federal prosecutors.

According to court documents, Oberlander, sitting in a window seat, initially placed his hand on the woman’s left thigh after dinner had been served and the lights were dimmed. After she shifted in her seat, Oberlander removed his hand but later touched the woman’s left breast.

The woman, traveling with her mother, asked to switch seats and then reported the incident to the flight crew and to police. Oberlander was charged with one count of abusive sexual contact on an airplane and, given his past history, was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark on Friday.

It was reported that Oberlander was previously convicted in 2002 sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl and for trespassing at a children's sleepaway camp in 2012.

He faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

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