Man kept in custody after Alaska Airlines sex assault
The Anchorage man accused of sexually assaulting a woman on an Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle was called a danger to the community, with a judge ordering that he remain behind bars during his initial appearance in federal court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Collins, who is prosecuting the case against Nicholas Stevens, briefly discussed the case against him at Friday’s U.S. District Court hearing in Anchorage. The 37-year-old stands accused of one count of abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft, announced Thursday by federal authorities in Washington.
Stevens allegedly assaulted the woman during the airline’s Flight 114 that took off March 8 from Anchorage. Prosecutors say Stevens had been sitting in an aisle seat, with the woman in a window seat, when he slid over and tried to hold her hand while asking her personal questions. After that, he allegedly “grabbed her thigh and her breast” while pretending to be asleep.
Stevens was quiet in court Friday morning, as Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith asked questions about where he would live if he were released before trial, how he might be monitored and the status of his substance-abuse treatments.
Alaska’s sex offender registry lists Stevens as convicted of kidnapping and second-degree assault in a 2002 Anchorage case.
Smith ultimately ordered Stevens to stay in custody for another two weeks, until his next hearing on Sept. 13, because of his prior criminal conviction, his substance abuse problems and his failure to appear in court during previous cases. Stevens will have an opportunity to consult with his attorney, federal defender Matthew Scoble, and request a bail hearing.
Stevens faces a maximum term of two years in federal prison if he is convicted, along with a maximum fine of $250,000.
Heather Hintze contributed information to this story.
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