Man allegedly molests two female passengers on separate Alaska Airlines flights

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently investigating a case that involves a United States military service member who allegedly molested female teenagers on two separate Alaska Airlines flights.

Official documents from the US Attorney’s Office (Western District of Washington) state that Alaska-based James Benecke, 41, chief warrant officer in the US Army, was indicted for two counts of abusive sexual contact while on board an aircraft.

According to the indictment, Benecke was on an Alaska Airlines flight from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on April 12, 2023 when he allegedly intentionally touched the buttocks of a 16-year-old teen who was seated next to him. The indictment charges that the contact was intentional.

Exactly two months later, on June 12, 2023, Bennecke was on another Alaska Airlines flight from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)  to SEA airport when he allegedly touched the buttocks and inner thigh of an 18-year-old female seated next to him. 

The teenager and her boyfriend reported the incident to the cabin crew and Bennecke was moved to a seat at the rear of the plane. He was interviewed by law enforcement upon arrival in Seattle.

Law enforcement is interested in speaking with anyone who may have been seated near to Benecke on an aircraft during these two incidents.

According to the US Attorney’s office, abusive sexual contact is punishable by up to two years in prison.

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Jean Carmela Lim
Journalist[br][br]Jean is a member of AeroTime’s editorial team, working as an aviation writer and based in Manila, Philippines. Previously, she worked in operational aviation roles in Manila, Philippines and Seoul, South Korea before moving to Australia to work in corporate and government travel. In 2012, Jean established her own luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. She is also a contributor for World Travel Market London, one of the biggest annual events in the travel sector. She covers trends and issues in hospitality and luxury travel for a B2B market, interviewing key personalities in the industry.
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