Hilo man could face more charges after alleged rape attempt during flight

A Hilo man could face more charges after authorities say he tried to sexually assault a woman on a flight from Honolulu to Japan.

Michael Tanouye, 29, appear in court for the first time Tuesday on charges of attempted aggravated sexual abuse by force or threat and interference with flight crew members and attendants.

The FBI cannot specify what type of additional charges he is facing.

According to an affidavit released by the FBI, Tanouye was on a Japan Airlines Flight 791 to Kansai International Airport on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Authorities say he was loitering around the lavatory between business class and coach when a Japanese national went to use the restroom.

The affidavit alleges that Tanouye forced his way into the lavatory, closed the door, pulled her pants down and then his. At some point during the struggle, authorities say the woman pushed the emergency button inside the lavatory.

The document says the woman’s mother, flight attendants and passengers tried to help, but Tanouye’s body blocked the door, forcing them to remove screws from the door’s hinges to gain access. He was eventually subdued.

Authorities say the plane was diverted back to Honolulu International Airport, where Tanouye was escorted off the plane by the Hawaii Sheriff Department and arrested by the FBI.

According to the affidavit, Tanouye’s mother, who was also on the flight, told a flight attendant that Tanouye suffered from depression and was on medication.

The statutory maximum penalty for aggravated sexual assault aboard an aircraft is life in federal prison, while the statutory maximum penalty for interfering with a flight crew is 20 years in federal prison.

Tanouye’s detention hearing is scheduled for next week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s