(Scroll down for video) A woman woke up after falling asleep on a flight to New Jersey, only to find the hands of a man beneath her clothing.
In a criminal complaint, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, accused Bawer Aksal with sexual abuse.
Prosecutors said Askal, a Turkish national who also holds U.S. citizenship, was sitting in the middle seat on United Airlines Flight 306 from Phoenix, Arizona, to Newark, New Jersey, on Monday night, when he sexually abused the woman, who was sitting in the window seat.
The woman, whose name is being withheld by prosecutors because of the nature of the charges, told authorities she awoke to find that the man had one of his hands inside her shirt, touching her breasts and the other hand in her shorts molesting her private parts, according to the complaint.
Aksal, 48, was breathing heavily and repeatedly asked the woman to kiss her, according to court documents.
The woman ordered the man to back off, according to the complaint. She put down the armrest between them and reported the incident to the flight crew.
A passenger in the aisle seat, noticing the commotion, offered to help the woman, prosecutors said, and led her to the rear of the aircraft to alert the flight crew.
The passenger later told authorities that he had seen the woman, who appeared to be asleep and not moving, and saw the man's arm under the woman's jacket, which was draped across her legs.
The sexual abuse charge carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine upon conviction.