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Mesa man arrested for sexual abuse of teen girl during flight to Alaska

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Posted at 12:39 PM, May 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 15:50:20-04

ANCHORAGE, AK — A Mesa man was arrested this week after he reportedly sexually abused a teen girl during a flight to Alaska.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the incident happened on Monday during an evening flight from Phoenix to Anchorage.

Fifty-six-year-old Kepueli Talaiasi allegedly engaged in sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl who was seated next to him.

Court documents say the teen girl pushed his hand away several times and tried to move away from him in her seat.

The girl, who was traveling with her father, wrote a note to him on her phone about Talaiasi allegedly touching her.

The father called flight attendants, who quickly separated Talaiasi from the girl, according to the DOJ.

Once the flight arrived at its destination, Alaska Airport Police detained Talaiasi, who was later arrested by the FBI.

If convicted, Talaiasi faces up to two years in prison followed by five years to lifetime supervised release.