Sleeping Woman in a United Airlines Flight Wakes up to a Man 'Rubbing her Breast'

The accused told investigators that he wanted to get the woman's attention by poking her on her right shoulder but turbulence cause him to mistakenly place his hand on her right breast.

A woman who had drifted off to sleep on a United Airlines flight woke up to find a man touching her breast, federal officials noted. The man was identified as 26-year-old Ivan Lopez. According to court documents, the woman, whose identity is not clear, had fallen asleep on a Christmas Eve flight bound from Las Vegas to Virginia. She awoke to Lopez 'repeatedly rubbing her right breast.'

When the woman opened her eyes, she allegedly found Lopez leaning over her, placing his right hand on her right breast. The woman allegedly yelled at Lopez to move away from her. Lopez then went to the back of the aircraft and allegedly admitted to a flight attendant that he sexually assaulted the woman, officials said in a statement Wednesday, January 19.

Ivan Lopez was charged with abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft in flight. He is facing up to two years in prison if convicted.

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Representational Image Screen grab - AP via NewYork Post

The touching was 'not accidental'

The woman told FBI investigators that the incident was 'not accidental.' Lopez had allegedly touched her for around 10 seconds, according to an affidavit obtained by Miami Herald.

After he admitted that he sexually assaulted a woman, Lopez further told the flight attendant that 'he thought he was in trouble and that he was sorry.' The flight attendant told the investigators that he moved from the 12th row to the 21st row for the rest of the flight.

'Turbulence caused the mishap'

According to the affidavit, after moving seats, Lopez told the attendant that he had a 'disability' and that he was sorry for his actions. Lopez told the FBI investigators that 'he wanted to get the woman's attention by poking her on her right shoulder so that he could ask her what she was listening to through her headphones,' but turbulence caused him to accidentally touch her breast instead.