Man Sentenced to Two Years for In-Flight Sexual Assault

A New York resident has been given a two-year federal prison term after being convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow passenger on a commercial airline flight. The incident, which occurred on a United Airlines journey from Denver to Newark, involved the man’s unwarranted physical contact with a woman seated next to him.

The individual, Ryan Manuella, aged 30, exhibited erratic behavior during the flight, notably changing seats multiple times before settling in a space temporarily vacated by another passenger. It was here that Manuella was reported to have sifted through the absent passenger’s belongings and extracted a pair of sunglasses.

Upon the seat owner’s return, a confrontation ensued, leading Manuella to occupy an adjacent middle seat. It was in this location that he committed the assault against a woman in the window seat. The woman reacted promptly, vocally rejecting the advance and alerting a flight attendant, which led to Manuella’s reassignment to a different seat.

The flight crew confirmed the woman’s distress, noting her emotional state. Upon landing, authorities arrested Manuella, who subsequently confessed to his actions to FBI agents, acknowledging the assault was for his personal gratification.

Charged with assault with intent to commit a felony, Manuella entered a guilty plea. In addition to his prison sentence, he is mandated to undergo three years of supervised release.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, highlighting the legal repercussions of committing such an offense in the aviation environment and the swift justice that follows.