- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A Louisiana man who admitted that he groped a sleeping woman aboard a cross-country flight was sentenced Friday in federal court to eight months in prison.

A federal judge in Newark also sentenced Devender Singh to two years of supervised release and ordered Singh to register as a sex offender. He had faced up to two years in prison.

Singh, 62, an Indian national who lives in Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of abusive sexual contact.

Prosecutors say Singh was seated next to the woman whom he did not know on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark Liberty International Airport. They say that while the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep but then woke up to find Singh kissing her face. Prosecutors say he had one hand inside her shirt and was touching himself with the other hand 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, asking that the police be present when the plane landed, prosecutors say.

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

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