New Haven man admits to groping passenger aboard flight

Crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — A New Haven man charged in federal court with groping a sleeping passenger and exposing himself while on a flight from Indianapolis to Denver in 2017 has pleaded guilty.

Ian Wagner

The FBI announced Thursday that 39-year-old Ian Wagner pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact related to the Oct. 6, 2017, incident on a flight from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Denver, Colorado.

According to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, on Oct. 6, 2017, Wagner was aboard a Frontier Airlines flight when he touched the inner thigh of an 18-year-old woman who was asleep. The woman woke up and jerked away, then took a photo of Wagner before retreating to a restroom, the indictment reads.

The woman eventually returned to her seat next to Wagner, who then exposed himself to her and masturbated for more than five minutes while staring at her, according to the indictment.

The acts happened while the aircraft was over Nebraska, according to the indictment.

The victim lodged a complaint with the airline and with authorities.

A grand jury eventually indicted Wagner with two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecent exposure in late September 2020.

Wagner was arrested in Fort Wayne Oct. 4 and was arraigned in U.S. District Court the next day.

Wagner is set to be sentenced Dec. 15. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison, and must register as a sex offender.

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