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Man faces charge in groping incident

August 21, 2012
The Maui News

HONOLULU (AP) - A passenger aboard a recent Hawaiian Airlines flight from Manila to Honolulu is scheduled to appear in court next month after federal authorities alleged he groped a woman sitting next to him, officials said Monday.

Luavalu Seuvaai, 22, of American Samoa has a pre-liminary hearing at U.S. District Court in Honolulu on Sept. 7 for one charge of abusive sexual contact. Seuvaai's attorney couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

According to a court affidavit, Seuvaai and the woman initially had a conversation during last week's flight about their backgrounds and travels.

The woman had taken some cold medicine and was trying to sleep when she realized he had placed her hand on his crotch. He then proceeded to touch her legs, the skin near her waist and then one of her breasts, the court documents said.

The woman, identified only as MW, "realized Seuvaai was attempting to touch her sexually and was not merely bumping MW while trying to find a comfortable position in his seat," according to the documents.

When Seuvaai began fondling the woman's breast under her bra, she pushed his hand away and pressed the button to summon a flight attendant, the affidavit said.

Under questioning, Seuvaai said the woman had placed her hand on his leg and figured she was flirting with him.

"After denying any sexual contact with MW, Seuvaai decided to change his statement and confessed that he did indeed touch MW sexually without her consent," the document said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song said Seuvaai was released to his sister on $25,000 bail.



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