A man from Andover, Maine, was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for groping a woman on a plane and then illegally transporting guns across state lines.
William Charles Pelletier, 36, pleaded guilty in March to the felony charge of transporting firearms unlawfully and the misdemeanor of simple assault.
Federal officials allege that in November 2017, Pelletier threw a bag of pretzels at a woman on a Delta flight from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Atlanta and then grabbed her breast when she ignored him.
An indictment stated Pelletier groped the woman “with intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, and degrade [her], and to gratify his own sexual desires.”
While out on pretrial release for felony abusive sexual contact, Pelletier was arrested for illegally transporting firearms across state lines. Court documents say he was pulled over in New Hampshire with a Glock pistol, an AR-15 rifle, and more than 350 grams of marijuana in his car.
When officers called Pelletier’s probation officer, she said he wasn’t supposed to be in New Hampshire.
Pelletier told the officers he grew the marijuana in Maine and said the AR-15 was a Christmas gift for his brother, who hadn’t picked it up yet. Both firearms were seized by federal officials.
Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, voiced his support of the 24-month sentence in a statement, specifically addressing the assault charge.
“Pelletier believed he could sexually assault a fellow passenger on a flight to Atlanta. Behavior like this will not be tolerated by the FBI,” Hacker said. “This sentence will hopefully send a message that this conduct is unacceptable, and anyone who chooses to act in this manner will be prosecuted. Citizens deserve to feel protected from sexual assault and should not have to fear this happening to them while traveling.”