A man was arrested after groping a woman on a Southwest flight bound to New Mexico, and told federal agents that Donald Trump taught him it was okay to grab women by their “private parts.”
49-year-old Bruce Michael Alexander was arrested on Sunday after he sexually abused a woman on a flight from Houston. According to her criminal complaint, the woman accused Alexander of non-consensual touching “around her bra line” and elsewhere.
The woman had fallen asleep on the flight, only to wake up to the passenger behind her fondling “the right part of her right breast.” According to the official report, the woman told law enforcement officials that she didn’t object at first because she thought it might have been accidental.
However, she recognized the second time it happened that it wasn’t an accident, and that Alexander was intentionally harassing her. According to court documents, “she rose from her seat, turned around and told the passenger behind her that she didn’t know why he thought it was OK to touch her, and he needed to stop doing it.” After this exchange, the Southwest personnel onboard transported Alexander to another section of the plane.
A statement from Southwest clarified that customer service supervisors and police were asked to meet the flight when it landed in Houston “due to reports of customer’s alleged inappropriate behaviour onboard.”
Once the plane arrived in Houston, Alexander was immediately apprehended by law enforcement. An important factor in his arrest was that his hands matched the description provided by the female victim. According to the police report, she said that the man who harassed her had “thick fingers, they were hairy and he had dirty fingernails.”
According to the arrest report, Alexander told the officers who handcuffed him that “the president of the United States says it’s ok to grab women by their private parts.”
Alexander was evidently referring to the viral video from 2005 in which Trump is heard saying: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p****.”
Many had inferred at the time that Trump’s followers will now consider harassment and sexual assault as acceptable behaviour. Some will say this incident proves their point about the president’s influence on issues regarding consent.
The 49-year old Florida native has been charged with abusive sexual misconduct and has a preliminary court hearing on Tuesday. He could face more than 18 months in prison and a USD$250,000 fine.