- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say a Louisiana man is accused of sexually touching a sleeping woman aboard a cross-country flight.

Devender Singh, a 61-year-old Indian national who lives in Baton Rouge, was taken into custody by the FBI after the plane arrived in New Jersey on Sunday. The arrest was made public on Monday, the same day Singh appeared in U.S. District Court on a charge of abusive sexual contact.

Singh was represented by a federal public defender, and a judge ordered him detained with the option to seek a bail hearing. He could face up to two years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Singh was seated next to the woman, who occupied a window seat on the United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark Liberty International Airport. The woman did not know Singh.

While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep. Prosecutors say she awoke to find Singh kissing her face with his hand inside her shirt, and he was touching himself in a sexual manner.

After pushing Singh off of her and telling him to get away, the woman went to the back of the plane and told a flight crew member what had happened. The woman asked that the police be present when the plane landed.

The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur on aircraft in flight in the United States.

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