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Arizona man indicted on charge of sexual abuse of a minor while on flight to Alaska

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 6:56 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Content Warning: This article contains information about alleged sexual abuse that might be difficult for some readers.

A 58-year-old man from Mesa, Arizona has been indicted on a charge of sexual abuse of a minor after allegedly having inappropriate contact with another passenger on a flight to Alaska earlier this week.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Alaska, Kepueli Talaiasi was on a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Anchorage on Monday. While on the flight, he is accused of “intentionally” engaging in sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl who was next to him on the flight.

According to court documents, the girl tried several times to push Talaiasi’s hand away from her and then used her phone to communicate what was happening to her father, who was also on the flight, the release states. Her father then alerted flight attendants, who moved Talaiasi away from the girl, according to the release.

Police from the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport met the flight when it touched down in Anchorage, the release states, and detained Talaiasi. He was later arrested by the FBI.

The FBI and Anchorage Airport police both conducted the investigation the led to the arrest. According to the release, Talaiasi could face up to two years in prison and five years to a lifetime of supervised release, if convicted.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse, resources are available on the Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) website or by calling the statewide crisis hotline at 1-800-478-8999.

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