Air passenger, 38, could face three years in jail for 'sexually assaulting 18-year-old woman while she slept' on Frontier Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Denver

 A 38-year-old man has been charged with sexually assaulting a sleeping teenager on a plane from Indiana to Colorado. 

Ian Wagner is accused of sexual assault and indecent exposure on board the Frontier Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Denver in 2017. 

The alleged victim, an 18-year-old woman, was asleep and therefore incapable of giving consent, according to the FBI. 

Wagner was arrested last Sunday, almost three years to the day since the alleged incident, and faces three years in prison if found guilty.

An initial court hearing took place on Monday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Wagner lives. 

However, the charges come from the District of Nebraska because the aircraft was in flight over the state when the alleged assault took place.  

The FBI has led the investigation because mid-air crimes come under the Bureau's jurisdiction. 

According to the FBI, in-flight sexual assaults constitute a felony and 'usually take the form of unwanted touching'. 

The agency's jurisdiction applies 'from the moment all external doors are closed following boarding', at least on domestic flights.  

The FBI launched 119 investigations into in-flight sexual misconduct in the fiscal year 2019, up from 84 a year earlier and 63 a year before that. 

'The number may reflect a higher number of incidents occurring, or a higher number of people reporting incidents of sexual misconduct,' a report said.   

In addition, a survey by the Association of Flight Attendants in 2017 found that 68 per cent of cabin crew have reported being targets of sexual harassment.  

More than one in six (18 per cent) had experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the previous year alone, according to the survey. 

This included being 'touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed, and fondled', or even being cornered while the passenger was out of their seat.  

However, only seven per cent of flight attendants who experienced the abuse ever reported it to their employer.

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