January 31, 2014
According to a criminal Complaint filed on August 21, 2012, in federal court in Newark, NJ, Bawer Aksal, 48, North Bergen, NJ boarded a United Airlines flight from Phoenix to Newark on August 20th, whereupon he took a seat next to a stranger: a woman passenger, who was sitting in the window seat. Following takeoff, the woman fell asleep and had her jacket draped across her legs. When the woman passenger awoke, she found Aksal's hands inside her shirt and shorts. As if that circumstance wasn't horrific enough, Aksal allegedly asked his victim to kiss him. The woman's immediate reaction was to slam down the armrest between her and Aksal, she then demanded that he get off her, Thereafter, she walked to the rear of the plane, where she told a crew member of the attack.
As to Aksal's defense to the charges, the Complaint asserts the following:
7. Upon landing, law enforcement officers also interviewed Defendant BAWER AKSAL who, after receiving Miranda warnings, admitted to, among other things, penetrating the Victim's vaginal opening with his fingers but claimed the Victim forced his hand into her vagina.
If convicted of the sexual abuse charge, Aksal faced a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
After a five-day trial, on July 19, 2013, Aksal was convicted by a federal jury in Newark, NJ following seven hours of deliberation of one count of sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact.
On January 29, 2014, Aksal was sentenced to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release; ordered to pay restitution to the victim for her medical expenses, and is required to register as a sex offender.