NY Man Groped Passenger While He Slept

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 01, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

New York City resident Othniel Polanco was recently arrested for groping his seatmate on a JetBlue flight to JFK.

The unfortunate victim was asleep at the time but when the 18-year-old victim woke up and discovered the alleged groper, he punched Polanco in the face.

Polanco, age 29, originally said that he was asleep and didn't realize where his hand was. Because, you know, sometimes when you're asleep your hand ends up in another person's pants. Happens all the time, right?

He later recanted that statement and submitted a new defense.

His response in the complaint is that his behavior "crossed a boundary," reports New York Daily News.

If the claims are true, that seems like a serious understatement.

Polanco allegedly slid his hand up the victim's shorts while the young man was sleeping on JetBlue flight. The incident led to Polanco's arrest as soon as the flight touched down in New York.

It doesn't matter that the victim was purportedly asleep at the time of the incident. Sexual assault includes any nonconsensual sexual touching. A person who is asleep or otherwise unconscious cannot provide consent.

That also includes someone who is passed out drunk in case you were wondering.

The asleep-at-the-time aspect may impede the victim's ability to be a witness for the entire event but since he allegedly woke up while it was still happening, he will likely have some evidence to present.

There was also a witness to the entire incident, reports Gothamist. A passenger sitting two seats over claims he saw Polanco assault the victim.

What's in store now for the New York City groper? He's been released on $100,000 bail and is under house arrest at his parents' house.

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