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New Jersey man sent to prison for sexual abuse on plane

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A 65-year-old New Jersey man was sentenced to a year in federal prison and fined $10,000 on Monday for sexually abusing a fellow airline passenger while she slept under a blanket in the seat beside him.

Ramesh Advani, of Berkeley Heights, had pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact for groping the sleeping woman and sliding his hand into her pants.

The abuse occurred on a Continental Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Newark in May 2010, and, since it took place in an American aircraft over international waters, was considered a federal crime.

Two witnesses, seated in the row behind Advani and his unidentified victim, saw what was happening and tried to stop the incident.

"The witnesses began kicking the victim's seat in an attempt to alert the victim as to what was occurring," according to legal documents filed in the case.

When she awoke, she told airline personnel what had happened.

Advani's attorney, John Arlia, could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)