A female passenger accused a Texas man of inappropriately touching her on a Southwest flight from Houston, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday night.
The police have confirmed the incident and the suspect has been arrested and charged with sexual battery. The man was identified as 30-year-old Alfredo Vela IV.
The victim told the Nashville Police Department officers that prior to the incident, she had a brief conversation with the man. She did not know Vela previously. She then fell asleep during the two-hour flight.
The affidavit says the woman said she woke up to find Vela rubbing her back. He didn’t stop there and she said he went on to rub her inner thigh, touched her breast and tried to put his hand under her shirt.
The woman shared that she was frozen in fear throughout the ordeal, but alerted the flight crew about the abuse the first chance she got.
Vela was arrested as soon as the flight arrived in Nashville around 9:15 p.m.
The police said Vela only admitted to scratching the woman’s back. He declined to talk further to the officers following his arrest.
He was booked into the Davidson County Jail on Sunday night. He was released on Monday morning on a $5,000 bond.
For its part, the Southwest Airlines said in a statement that it is closely cooperating with the police investigation. The airline added that it takes the protection of their customers very “seriously” and their safety is their priority. They also said they have zero tolerance for any type of assault on their aircraft.
The airline stressed that their flight attendants are trained to notify the pilots of any harmful situation immediately. The pilots, in turn, will request law enforcement to meet the aircraft upon landing.