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Man accused of groping breasts of sleeping female passengers during flight to O.C.

March 9, 2010 |  4:20 pm

A New Jersey man was charged Tuesday for allegedly groping the breasts of sleeping female passengers on a night flight from Newark to Orange County, authorities said.

James Dalton Bratcher allegedly wandered the aisles of the Continental plane Friday and molested two fellow passengers as they slept in their seats, according to federal authorities. Bratcher is accused of grabbing one of the women on two separate occasions during the flight.

Both women told authorities they awoke to see a man later identified as Bratcher walking away from them, according to a criminal complaint. Bratcher is charged with knowingly causing sexual contact with another person without that person’s permission.

Because the alleged offense occurred on an airplane, subject to federal law enforcement jurisdiction, it is a federal crime. Bratcher made his initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Santa. He was ordered held without bond after a prosecutor cited past convictions and argued he was a danger to the public. Bratcher’s federal public defender declined comment.

-- Scott Glover