Woman Pleads Guilty to Felony Assault After Groping Another Woman During Flight

An Oregon woman pleaded guilty Friday to a felony assault charge after she admitted to groping a female passenger during a flight from Las Vegas to Portland.

Heidi McKinney, 27, of suburban Portland, was arrested May 8, 2016, once the Alaska Airlines flight landed at Portland International Airport after the victim told authorities that another female passenger touched her on the breast and genitals without her consent, the Associated Press reported.

“Miss McKinney did so with the intent to humiliate and harass the victim,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ravi Sinha said at U.S. District Court in Portland. “(She) both made contact with victim’s body, including her inner thigh, and made a series of profane and lewd statements to the victim.”

McKinney was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of abusive sexual contact before she pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit a felony.

The crime carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison with a fine of up to $250,000, but Sinha and defense attorney Lisa Ludwig plan to jointly recommend a sentence of three years on probation.

It is up to the judge to decide whether to accept the recommendation.

The Evening Standard reports that McKinney was convicted of drunk driving in 2008 and 2015. She said she had recently completed a program for alcohol abuse at a facility near Portland.

Her fiance told authorities that McKinney’s body does not metabolize alcohol like most people, saying, “This is what happens,” according to court records.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 19. McKinney remains free on the condition that she does not use drugs or alcohol.


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