Passenger allegedly gropes woman, offers weird excuse

A MAN accused of groping a female passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight allegedly told authorities US President Donald Trump “says it’s OK” to grab women by their private parts, according to a criminal complaint.

Bruce Michael Alexander, 49, of Tampa, Florida, made his initial appearance in federal court on Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a charge of abusive sexual contact following Sunday’s incident. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer, Fox News reported.

Mr Alexander was accused of grabbing a woman’s breast without her permission while on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque.

The woman told authorities she fell asleep on the flight when “she felt her clothes move and touching of fingers on her right side at and around her ‘bra line’,” according to a criminal complaint.

The alleged incident happened on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque. Picture: AFP/Daniel SlimSource:AFP

She believed the touching was an accident until 30 minutes later it happened again. The woman said she turned around and told the passenger sitting behind her to stop and asked the crew to change her seat.

The woman described in detail what the suspect’s hands looked like.

“She saw a hand that had thick fingers, were hairy and dirty fingernails,” the criminal complaint stated.

Mr Alexander recalled in a written statement only that the woman in front of him had spoken to him and then changed seats.

Mr Alexander may have been referring to Donald Trump’s comments in an infamous Access Hollywood segment.Source:Supplied

The criminal complaint stated when Mr Alexander was placed in handcuffs and taken in a vehicle, he stated: “The President of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”

Mr Alexander was presumably referring to the Access Hollywood tape from 2005 which emerged during the 2016 presidential campaign. In the recording, Mr Trump was heard talking about fame enabling him to grope women, a discussion he later apologised for and dismissed as “locker room” banter.

Mr Alexander remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Southwest Airlines told Fox News in a statement: “Customer Service Supervisors and local law enforcement officers were requested to meet flight 5421 upon arrival in Albuquerque from Houston due to reports of a customer’s alleged inappropriate behaviour on-board.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission.

Calls to sexual assault and violence hotline surge Hotline calls surge in 20182:46

The number of people contacting Australia’s sexual assault and domestic violence hotline has increased by 70 per cent since September 2017.

Nicole McMahon, 1800 RESPECT’s general manager, has told Sky News the ‘Me Too’ movement and the rise in public awareness has prompted more people to reach out.

In 2014 there were 12,000 calls compared to 28,000 in the first three month of 2018.

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