ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A California man has been sentenced to six months in prison for assaulting two flight attendants while traveling from San Diego to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The office of the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico announced the sentencing Wednesday of 43-year-old Alton James Johnson of Yuba City, California. James pleaded guilty to the assault on Jan. 12.
Prosecutors said in a plea agreement that Johnson repeatedly touched a female flight attendant on her legs during a December 2019 flight. She asked him to stop and he then grabbed her by the buttocks. Prosecutors say a second flight attendant stepped in to help and he grabbed that attendant by the arm.
The Federal Aviation Administration says it’s fielded roughly 2,500 “unruly passenger” reports filed by airlines since the beginning of the year, including 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to wear a face mask.
Last month, a union representing thousands of Southwest Airlines flight attendants demanded Southwest’s CEO take action to better protect the carrier’s crew from unruly and violent passengers. It came after a woman punched a flight attendant in the face on a trip to San Diego. She’s since been arrested and banned permanently from Southwest flights.