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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Waking Up With a Hand in Your Pants

     On June 10, 2012, Janarol Ali Dickens boarded a Delta flight from Detroit to Amsterdam. The 32-year-old asked the girl next to him if she wanted to watch a movie with him. She declined and went to sleep. When the 19-year-old woke up mid-flight, Dickens' hand was in her pants underneath her underwear. In addition, the victim discovered that Dickens had pulled her arm onto his lap. The alarmed passenger alerted a flight crew member who placed her into another seat.

     Upon arrival in Amsterdam officers with the Dutch Royal Military questioned Dickens who denied any sexual contact between him and the complainant. The authorities in Amsterdam released the accused molester without charging him with a crime. The woman Dickens had sexually assaulted filed a criminal complaint against him when she returned to the U.S. Because the offense took place on an international flight that originated in the U.S., the federal government had jurisdiction in the case.

     On April 22, 2014, Dickens returned to the United States. His flight landed in Miami where FBI agents took him into custody at the airport.

     To the FBI agents Dickens denied fondling the woman on the plane two years earlier. But after further questioning he admitted that he had put his hand inside the victim's pants for about ten seconds. (As though brevity in this case was relevant.) Dickens claimed he had placed the offending hand outside the girl's underwear. (Again, not  relevant.) He admitted that his neighbor on the plane had not given him permission to touch her.

     A federal prosecutor charged Dickens with Abusive Sexual Conduct. Dickens posted his bond and walked out of jail shortly after his arrest.

     In March 2015, following his guilty plea, the federal district judge sentenced Dickens to two years in prison.

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