The FBI caught a 25-year-old man from Federal Way who was allegedly groping a girl sitting next to him on an Alaska Airlines flight last June, 2023. Desmond D. Bostick apparently tried to conceal his actions by touching the woman’s thigh and using a blanket to grab her from behind.
Federal prosecutors said that, on a June 20, 2023 flight from San Diego to Seattle, as they landed at Sea-Tac International Airport, the woman reported to the flight crew that she was groped multiple times. But, before authorities could catch him, Bostic had already left the plane and the terminal.
Even though the passenger filed charges and the FBI got involved, Bostic managed to avoid capture for more than seven months. Now, he is being accused of abusive sexual contact on a plane. The indictment claims Bostic had sexual contact with the woman without her consent, even though she was fully aware of what he was doing.
If Bostic is found guilty, he faces a maximum of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors claimed he behaved inappropriately during the flight and made the victim feel uncomfortable.
Bostic’s lawyer, who was appointed by the court, has yet to comment on the case. The FBI and Port of Seattle Police are still investigating, so there are no details regarding the suspect’s arrest this month.
The FBI handled 27 sexual misconduct cases aboard the plane in 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western Washington. Last year, that number increased to 90 and another 62 in the first half of 2023.
In December 2023, a Seattle boy was found guilty of a similar horrific incident with a 16-year-old girl on an Air France flight. A 35-year-old massage therapist faces up to five years in prison for touching a teenage girl’s feet for a prolonged period of time after giving her some candy.
The lead FBI agent in Seattle spoke directly to the public about the huge increase in flight crimes across the country. Richard A. Kolodny promised that whoever commits these crimes on planes will definitely face consequences.
Everyone should feel safe when flying to their destination. However, this sense of safety is at risk with more sexual assaults occurring at altitudes of thirty thousand feet. Still, the FBI says they are increasing their efforts to catch and deter criminals and keep passengers safe during their flights.
Many times sexual assault on planes goes unreported because people are so shocked that something so horrific could happen in such a small space. But when Bostic’s accuser spoke out, it gave investigators the strength to build a case against him, even though he tried to flee last June.