TAIPEI (CNA) — A Filipino man was sentenced to four years in jail by Taoyuan District Court Thursday for sexually assaulting an American woman while she was asleep on a flight from the United States to Taiwan last year.
Although the woman did not attend the court hearing in Taiwan, the 40-year-old man from the Philippines, identified only as Kenneth, was convicted of the crime based primarily on a tissue swab taken from the woman’s thigh, which tests confirmed contained his DNA, the court said.
The sexual assault took place on an Aug. 12 flight from Seattle to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, during which Kenneth was charged with assaulting the woman sitting next to him.
According to the court, Kenneth first chatted with the woman and found she was traveling alone. After she fell asleep, he started to touch her sexually, taking advantage of the lights being turned off during the flight.
The woman later awoke and after realizing what had happened reported the incident to flight attendants, leading to Kenneth’s arrest by aviation police when the plane landed at Taoyuan airport.
The Philippine man denied sexual assault arguing that the woman did not complain, resist or ask for help when he was touching her, the police investigation showed.
The court rejected Kenneth’s defense and found him guilty of sexual assault, for which he received a four-year sentence. After completing the sentence Kenneth will be deported, the court said.