A Texas man was arrested and charged with sexual battery after a passenger accused him of inappropriately touching her on a Southwest flight from Houston, Texas, to Nashville, Tenn., Sunday night, police confirmed.
The woman allegedly told Nashville Police Department officers that she had a brief conversation with the man, identified as Alfredo Vela IV, 30, before she fell asleep during the two-hour flight. The arrest affidavit said the woman did not know Vela IV previously, WSMV reported.
According to the affidavit, the woman said she woke up to Vela rubbing her back. She said he went on to rub her inner thigh, touched her breast and tried to put his hand under her shirt.
The woman said she was frozen in fear during the incident, but alerted flight crew soon after.
Vela was arrested after the flight arrived in Nashville around 9:15 p.m.
According to police, Vela said he scratched the woman’s back, WSMV reports.
Vela was booked into the Davidson County Jail Sunday night. He was released on $ 5,000 bond Monday morning.
He has been scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 19.
Southwest Airlines told Fox News in a statement that it’s cooperating with the police investigation.
"We take the protection of our customers very seriously, and safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Southwest Airlines. As part of this operating philosophy, Southwest Crews are trained to take care of a wide range of sensitive customer issues, and we have zero tolerance for any type of assault onboard our aircraft.
"If our Crews are made aware of a harmful situation – whether witnessed first-hand or reported by someone else – our Flight Attendants are trained to notify the Pilots who will request law enforcement meet the aircraft upon landing, as appropriate. Then, Southwest cooperates with law enforcement to the fullest extent to protect our customers and crews," the statement read.