Man Pleads Guilty To Airborne Groping Of British Airways Flight Attendant
A Ukrainian national today pleaded guilty to placing his hand up the skirt of a flight attendant during a late-April flight from London to New York.
During a plea hearing this afternoon at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, Iurii Chumak, 53, admitted groping the female British Airways employee as she bent over to pour coffee for another passenger on the April 28 flight.
Speaking through a Russian interpreter, Chumak, a Ukraine citizen, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count before Magistrate Joan Azrack.
Chumak, who suffers from diabetes, said that the incident “happened because my blood sugar was low,” an excuse that Azrack batted away. After first saying, "I touched a stewardess," Chumak continued, “Maybe I touched her private parts.” He then admitted that the molestation was intentional.
Chumak, pictured in the above mug shot, grabbed the flight attendant’s “genital area” and “began to run his fingers back and forth,” according to an FBI agent. Chumak, who was traveling with a tour group visiting New York and California, was quickly placed in restraints following the incident and was arrested by federal agents when the aircraft landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
A fellow passenger told investigators that a belligerent Chumak had been drinking from a bottle of Dewar’s scotch prior to the groping. When questioned by FBI agents, Chumak denied molesting the flight attendant, and claimed that he “was drinking on the airplane, fell asleep, and woke up in restraints.”
Chumak, whose sentencing date has not been set, remains in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.