California man arrested in alleged groping of two women on a flight


About 30 minutes into her JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Boston on Monday night (May 30, 2022), a mother taking care of her baby felt someone caress her upper thigh.

It was the man sitting in the aisle seat next to her, she later told investigators. Before she could get away from him, he reached farther up her leg toward her groin area, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The woman swatted away the man’s hand, alerted a flight attendant and yelled for her husband, who was sitting across the aisle with the couple’s other young child.

“This man just groped me,” the woman said, pointing to the man sitting next to her, identified by prosecutors as Jairaj Singh Dhillon, 42, of Modesto, Calif. Around that time, another woman standing in the aisle said Dhillon had also groped her “groin and buttocks,” according to the affidavit.

Now, federal prosecutors have charged Dhillon with two counts of abusive sexual contact while in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Dhillon has made an initial appearance in court and is being held as he awaits a hearing on Thursday, prosecutors said in a news release.

It was not immediately clear whether Dhillon has an attorney.

According to the affidavit, Dhillon told investigators that he had no memory of touching the women and that any contact he may have had with them was unintentional.

About 15 or 20 minutes into the flight, Dhillon said, he took an Ambien sleeping pill. He said he would not have touched the mother “because of his lack of attraction” to her, the affidavit states.

Dhillon told investigators he was a truck driver flying to pick up a trailer-tractor, which he planned to drive back to California. He knew the mother sitting next to him was with her husband and their other child, he told investigators, and he had offered to switch seats with her so the family could sit together. The mother turned him down because the baby’s car seat needed to be placed near the window, he told investigators.

Dhillon also said he remembered the woman “leaning over and talking ‘baby talk’ to the infant,” the affidavit states.

The mother told investigators she was leaning over toward the baby when Dhillon groped her, according to the affidavit. Around that time, a woman seated directly across the aisle from Dhillon – in the aisle seat next to the mother’s husband and young child – noticed the mother and her husband talking to each other from across the aisle. The woman could not hear the conversation because she was wearing headphones, according to the affidavit, but she eventually understood that the husband needed to find a flight attendant, so she got up from her seat and stood in the aisle so that he could pass.

As she did so, the woman felt Dhillon grab her buttocks and groin, according to the affidavit. When she slapped away his hand, she heard the mother scream that Dhillon had just done the same thing to her.

Members of the JetBlue crew removed Dhillon and seated him toward the front of the plane, next to an empty seat, according to the affidavit.



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