An Irishman who refused to wear a Covid mask during a flight from Dublin to New York and exposed the rear end of a flight attendant risks up to 20 years in prison if convicted of assault, the US Department of Justice said on Friday.
Shane McInerney, 29, of Galway, was alleged to have caused the crash on a Delta Airlines plane on January 7.
He appeared before a judge in New York a week later and was charged with “intentionally assaulting and intimidating a member of a flight crew”[ads1];, according to a criminal complaint that was opened on Friday.
It said the suspect repeatedly refused to wear a mask, threw a drink can and hit a passenger in the head, and “pulled down his pants and underwear and put a flight attendant and passengers in his mouth.”
A court spokesman said McInerney could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the crime.
McInerney was on his way to Florida to take a job at a football academy.
He was released on $ 20,000 bail pending trial.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in January 2021 that it would adhere to a zero-tolerance policy toward people who reject federal regulations that require the wearing of masks on U.S. domestic flights.
This came when the flight attendants reported a high number of incidents of verbal and physical abuse from travelers who refuse to wear masks.
An American Airlines jet on its way from Miami to London turned in the middle of the flight on Thursday because a passenger refused to wear a Covid mask.