ARIZONA NEWS

Mesa man accused of sexual contact with girl on airplane

May 3, 2021, 2:00 PM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona man has been indicted in Alaska on a federal charge of abusive sexual contact involving a 16-year-old girl who was seated next to him on a flight from Phoenix to Anchorage, federal officials said.

Kepueli Talaiasi, 58, of Mesa allegedly touched the girl, a stranger, as she sat in a middle seat between him and his adult son, who slept during most of the flight Monday, according to an indictment issued Thursday and a memo filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alaska.

The office asked the federal court to order the continued detention of Talaiasi, saying he posed a threat to potential seatmates if he boarded an aircraft to return to Arizona pending trial.

The girl managed to pass a message to her father who was in an another row of seats on the plane and he contacted the flight crew, which separated the girl from Talaiasi, the office said.

Talaiasi was arrested after the plane arrived in Anchorage, the office said.

According to the memo, Talaiasi during in an interview with the FBI “acknowledged having bad thoughts upon seeing the minor next to him, and described the devil tempting him” and said he “had given in to the temptation….”

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Mesa man accused of sexual contact with girl on airplane