A man allegedly sexually assaulted a married father of one by repeatedly grabbing his bicep and crotch during a flight from New York JFK to Honolulu, according to a new criminal complaint filed in a Hawaiian district court.
Juan Carlos Rios Gaviria of New York City is accused of assault and abusive sexual conduct during the July 25, 2023, flight aboard Hawaiian Airlines service HA51 after the victim rejected his sexual advances.
Gaviria initially claimed any unwanted contact between the two was because he was a “big guy” and that the airplane seats were too small.
In a criminal affidavit, it’s alleged that Gaviria first struck up conversation with the victim, identified only by the initials S.D., after sitting next to him in the Economy section.
Gaviria shared with the victim that he used to be married to a woman but was divorced and was now seeing a man, before asking for S.D.’s phone number. He then shifted the conversation onto penis sizes before grabbing the victim’s bicep.
The affidavit alleges that Gaviria then grabbed his thigh several times and, at one point slipped his hand between the victim’s thighs, grazing his testicle.
Apparently undeterred, Gaviria attempted to pull the victim’s hand towards his crotch, although he stopped when S.D. told him he wasn’t interested and that he had a wife and child.
But after returning from a trip to the lavatory, Gaviria then allegedly grabbed the victim’s penis and testicles in a “hard and deliberate manner”. The victim pushed him away, but Gaviria allegedly attempted to grab his crotch again.
On this occasion, S.D. used the call bell to get attention from a crew member. The victim asked the flight attendant to switch seats but was initially rebuffed because the flight was completely full.
Eventually, however, the crew member realized something was up and got S.D. to accompany her to the rear galley.
When a flight attendant went to speak with Gaviria, he claimed not to speak English – despite the fact that he had been speaking to a crew member in English only moments before.
In a statement provided to law enforcement, Gaviria claimed S.D. had initiated sexual contact by grabbing his penis first and had admitted to having sexual relations with men in the past.
Gaviria claims the man later felt uncomfortable and then asked to switch seats.
A court has released Gaviria on a $20,000 bond and has ordered him to surrender his passport pending trial.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.