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Sexual harassment and assault

‘Trump says it’s OK’: US man accused of grabbing woman’s breast during Southwest flight invokes presidential defence

  • It didn’t work – Bruce Alexander, 49, was handcuffed and charged with abusive sexual contact
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 6:09am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 8:02pm

A man who allegedly groped a woman on a flight to New Mexico on Sunday cited US President Donald Trump to justify himself, according to court documents.

Bruce Alexander, 49, was arrested on an abusive sexual contact charge after Southwest Flight 5421 from Houston landed in Albuquerque.

According to an affidavit, when Alexander was placed in handcuffs, he told officers that “the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”

Alexander is accused of touching a woman’s breast while he was sitting behind her on the Southwest flight.

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The woman said she felt Alexander’s hand move from behind her and grab her right breast. She said she fell asleep about 20 minutes into the flight and not long after, she felt him touch her but assumed it was an accident, according to court documents.

About 30 minutes later, she said she felt Alexander’s hand grab the back of her arm and grope around her ribs and then her breast.

The woman then stood up and told Alexander she did not understand how he could think that was OK and he needed to stop. She then asked a flight attendant to re-seat her, and Southwest confirmed the woman was moved to another seat.

The woman said she had not been drinking alcohol or taking any sleep aids.

When Alexander was questioned by authorities, he said he could not recall touching the woman. He said he was sitting behind a woman and was asleep for most of the flight.

He has been charged with abusive sexual contact.

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“We take protection of our customers very seriously, and safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Southwest,” the airline said. “As part of this operating philosophy, Southwest flight attendants are trained in a wide range of sensitive customer issues. When aware of a potentially harmful situation – whether first-hand or reported by someone else – our flight attendants are trained to re-seat customers and notify the pilots to request law enforcement, as appropriate. We cooperate with law enforcement to protect our customers and crews.”