A deputy U.S. Marshal has been accused of sexually assaulting a passenger on board a transatlantic flight.
The incident allegedly took place while the man was travelling to London as one of two deputies responsible for extraditing a criminal defendant.
WNBC reports that the man is currently in custody after a woman complained that she had been unwillingly assaulted during a Delta Air Lines flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow.
The arrest has since been confirmed by Delta.
“Due to unruly passenger behavior while in flight, Delta Flight 1, JFK to London-Heathrow was met by local law enforcement upon landing and Delta is cooperating with their investigation,” a Delta representative said.
According to law enforcement sources, the marshal and his colleague were consuming alcohol during the flight. However, the other man has since been sent back to New York and is not expected to face any charges.
A representative for the London Metropolitan Police said that they had received reports around 6:30 a.m. local time from staff onboard the flight “that a passenger was disruptive and had sexually assaulted other passengers and crew.”
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) December 7, 2023
The allegation is now being handled by local authorities, who arrested the suspect upon his arrival in London on charges of sexual assault.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Marshals Service responded to the incident by confirming they were aware that an employee had “engaged in serious alleged misconduct while intoxicated on an inbound flight from New York City.”
“The U.S. Marshals Service takes seriously any allegations of misconduct by its employees. The alleged actions of the employees do not reflect the professionalism of the thousands of employees of the USMS or its core values,” the service said in a statement.
As noted by The New York Times, incidents of “unruly behavior” increased during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, mainly as customers expressed their frustration with being forced to wear a mask in an attempt to supposedly reduce the spread of the virus.
“The number of disruptive midair episodes peaked in 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, with almost 6,000 incidents — a 492 percent increase from the prior year,” The Times noted.
“Shaky cellphone footage of brawls and insults on planes became a staple on social media,” they added.
However, the number of incidents fell after the mask mandate was finally removed. In 2022, the number fell to 2,455 and appears to have fallen further in 2023 with 1,931 incidents thus far, according to Federal Aviation Authority statistics.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.