A passenger on an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte is being accused by the FBI of masturbating in mid flight, based on a warrant filed this week in the U.S. Western District of North Carolina.
Arthur David Fischer, 40, of New Orleans is said to have violated laws against obscene/indecent exposure of genitalia and/or engaging in masturbation on an aircraft.
The FBI’s case is based on the testimony of multiple witnesses who were sitting near Fischer at the time, says the complaint.
A warrant for Fischer’s arrest was filed Monday, stating the incident took place on the afternoon of Aug. 25.
According to the warrant, Fischer told the FBI he got an erection after takeoff and covered it with his vest. However, he denied masturbating, and claimed he was rubbing his crotch with a wipe because it “smelled bad.”
Fischer further stated that his genitals might have been exposed at some point because he felt a “breeze on it.”
The criminal complaint, as detailed by a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Charlotte, says Fischer was sitting in a window seat at the time of the incident, with a vest over his lap.
Two witnesses said they saw Fischer behaving inappropriately.
One woman seated nearby told officials she awoke during the flight and observed Fischer rubbing his legs on the outside of his pants. She then reported he put his hands in his pants and exposed himself. The woman reportedly then switched seats with a relative, the complaint said.
Fischer is accused in the complaint of masturbating while “seated in the cabin of a commercial aircraft in flight...where any reasonable man would know that his acts would be open to observation by others.”