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Groping arrest on SFO-bound flight the latest in United Airlines incidents

A plane hovers above an airport runway.
A grand jury indictment unsealed against a Sacramento man charges him with groping a fellow passenger aboard an SFO-bound jet in January. | Source: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto/Getty Images

A Sacramento man was arrested and charged Monday with abusive sexual contact of another passenger during a San Francisco International Airport-bound flight earlier this year, federal authorities said.

Rajesh Kumar Kapoor, 56, was indicted March 13 on one count of abusive sexual contact. He is accused of touching a passenger’s breasts and inner thigh without permission aboard United Flight 892 from South Korea to San Francisco on Jan. 16, according to the indictment.

According to Flightradar24 data, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner made its scheduled 6 p.m. local time departure from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport at 6:08 p.m., and landed at SFO at 11:09 a.m. local time ahead of its scheduled 11:35 a.m. arrival time.

Kapoor made an initial court appearance Monday before a federal magistrate judge in San Francisco and was released pending trial. His next court date is a May 9 status conference before a U.S. district judge.

If convicted, Kapoor faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. A federal prosecutor is handling the case stemming from an FBI investigation. An indictment is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The incident marks the latest in a series of United flight incidents, including turnarounds, emergency landings, or equipment failure in recent weeks, according to media reports.