Bruce Michael Alexander has been charged with abusive sexual contact after officials said he groped a woman on an airplane. The alleged incident occurred on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque on Sunday, October 21. Alexander, 49, is from Tampa, Florida.
According to the police affidavit, Alexander was allegedly groping the woman sitting in the seat in front of him. He was arrested after the plane landed. Alexander expressed apparent confusion later on about why he was in trouble. He told the FBI agents “the President of the United States says it’s ok to grab women by their private parts.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Bruce Alexander is Facing Federal Charges After Allegedly Groping the Woman Sitting in Front of Him; She Told Officials She Had Fallen Asleep & His Touching Woke Her Up
FBI Special Agent Michael Hopkins of the Albuquerque Field Office was assigned to the case. It is being handled in the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque. Hopkins interviewed the alleged victim after the flight landed. She was referred to as “C.W.” in the criminal complaint, to protect her privacy. She explained that she had fallen asleep early into the flight.
She woke up when she felt someone touch the right side of her body, near her breast. She saw the hand, but assumed it had been an accident and did not say anything. About 30 minutes later, “C.W.” said the man squeezed the back of her arm and “attentively” groped her again near the right side of her breast. She described his hands as being hairy, with thick fingers and dirty fingernails.
The victim promptly stood up, and demanded the man sitting behind her to stop. She asked a member of the crew to move her to a different seat. The person sitting beside her, who has not been publicly identified, told officials he did not see the groping. But he confirmed seeing the victim stand up and tell Alexander to stop touching her.
2. Bruce Alexander Told FBI Agents That President Trump Said It Was Fine to Grab Women’s Private Parts
The flight attendants alerted personnel at the airport in Albuquerque. Local law enforcement officials were called to the airport to meet the plane when it landed, according to a statement from Southwest Airlines.
Bruce Alexander was arrested at the airport. He was read his Miranda Rights and placed in handcuffs. Alexander asked the officers what the standard punishment was for the accusation he faced.
In the vehicle, Alexander kept talking to the arresting agents. The criminal complaint states that Alexander brought up President Trump. He told the agents, “the President of the United States says it’s ok to grab women by their private parts.”
He was allegedly referring to the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Donald Trump was recorded saying that because he was a star, he could “grab women by the p***y.”
3. Alexander Denied Groping the Woman in a Written Statement to the FBI
The criminal complaint states that Bruce Michael Alexander submitted a written statement to the FBI after being read in Miranda Rights. He told officials that he was asleep for the majority of the flight from Houston to Albuquerque. He denied the groping accusation.
Alexander recalled ordering a Coke from the flight attendant. He had a bag stowed under the seat in front of him, but could not remember whether he had reached into it during the flight. He had not taken any medications or had any alcohol.
Alexander acknowledged that the woman in front of him was a stranger. He could not remember what she looked like. He told officials that the woman had stood up and spoke to him, before she asked to move to another seat. Alexander’s statement did not mention touching the woman.
The affidavit also states that FBI agents inspected Alexander’s fingernails. Special Agent Hopkins write in the statement that Alexander’s fingernails did look dirty, and that his fingers could be described as “thick.”
4. Alexander Faces Two Years in Jail if Convicted of Abusive Sexual Contact
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Mexico announced on October 22 that Alexander had been charged with abusive sexual contact. As stated in the news release, the charge carries aa maximum punishment of two years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Burkhead is the prosecutor handling the case.
Alexander was in federal custody following the arrest. According to jail records, Alexander was being held at the Sandoval County Detention Center. A detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, October 23.
The U.S. Attorney’s office had not issued an official update about the detention hearing as of the morning of October 24. But it appears Alexander was released; jail records as of October 24 show that Alexander was no longer an inmate at the Sandoval Detention Center.
5. Bruce Alexander is From Tampa & Was Arrested in 2017 For Reckless Driving
Bruce Michael Alexander is 49 years old. His birthday is September 10, 1969. His most recent address was in Tampa, Florida. Neither the FBI nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office has explained why Alexander was flying from Houston to Albuquerque. (For example, whether he has family in the area or was traveling for work, etc).
Online records show that Alexander has been arrested before. In April of 2017, he was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for reckless driving and driving under the influence. He appears to have paid a $1,622 fine.