Guilty plea for Nevada man who grabbed woman’s leg on flight

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada man could face more than 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges that he groped a woman who had fallen asleep during a flight to Las Vegas.

Daniel A. Parkhurst pleaded guilty this week to one count of interference with a flight crew and one count of assault on an aircraft, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The charges stemmed from incidents during a 2019 flight on Southwest Airlines. Parkhurst squeezed the upper inner thigh of the woman who had fallen asleep, would not let go when she told him to and hit her several times, court documents said.

The victim was moved to another seat and an off-duty pilot sat next to Parkhurst to prevent further problems, but he continued to annoy other passengers, and an off-duty corrections officer put flex cuffs on him, according to the documents.

Pilots cut short the Seattle-to-Las Vegas flight and landed in Reno, where Parkhurst was removed from the plane.

A sentencing hearing for Parkhurst, 38, of Gardnerville, Nevada, was scheduled for June 24 in federal district court. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and six months in prison.