NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey man groped a woman during a transcontinental flight and then apologized in a pair of notes in which he acknowledged his actions were "stupid," U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

Ganesh Parkar, 40, of Windsor appeared in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, on Thursday to face a charge of abusive sexual contact, one day after the overnight Air India flight from Mumbai to Newark.

"My client asserts his innocence," Parkar's attorney, Frank Arleo, said by email.

Parkar had a business class seat but chose to sit in a middle seat next to the woman in economy class, prosecutors said.


The woman fell asleep and later awakened to discover that her blanket had been pulled off her body, according to a criminal complaint. After replacing the blanket and going back to sleep, the woman again woke up to find Parkar's hand inside her shirt, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, the woman yelled, "What the hell are you doing?" and crew members instructed Parkar to move back to his assigned seat.

Parkar repeatedly asked flight attendants to allow him to speak to the woman but his requests were denied, prosecutors said. He wrote her two notes in which he apologized for a "moment's stupidity" and admitted he had been "stupid," according to the complaint.

Parkar was released on $50,000 bond and ordered to remain under house arrest.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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