ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that a federal grand jury in Anchorage has indicted Kyong Cha Lee, 56, of Aiea, Hawaii, for assaulting a flight attendant.
According to the indictment, on August 19, 2012, while Alaska Airlines Flight 871 was inbound to Anchorage, Alaska, from Hawaii, Lee intentionally assaulted a flight attendant by striking her with both hands and profanely threatening her. Lee is the sole defendant named in the indictment.
“When an incident occurs onboard a commercial flight inbound to Alaska, the United States Attorney’s Office will often have exclusive jurisdiction over the offense,” said Karen L. Loeffler, United States Attorney. “Federal law does not tolerate passengers who physically assault airline crew members, and significant fines and jail sentences can be imposed for those who violate these laws. Although Ms. Lee’s charge is a misdemeanor, flight crew interference incidents can result in a felony conviction, 20 years’ imprisonment, and fines of up to $250,000.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle G. French, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that Lee’s charge provides for a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.