PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh-area man has pleaded guilty to a lesser federal assault charge for fondling a sleeping woman during a flight from Las Vegas.
Fifty-nine-year-old Wei-Ming Shi (wee ming shee) pleaded guilty Monday to simple assault on an aircraft during flight and has agreed to a $5,000 fine. A federal judge also can impose up to six months in jail and probation when Shi is sentenced March 16. The original charge of unlawful sexual contact carried up to three years in prison.
Shi's attorney told the judge the incident stemmed from flirting aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh in August 2016.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Kaufman disputed there was any flirting before Shi put his hand under the woman's dress onto her thigh, buttocks and back.