August 12, 2014

Former Cornell Visiting Scholar Arrested for Reportedly Groping Woman on Flight

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A former Cornell visiting scholar was arrested after groping a woman’s breast on a flight from Tokyo, according to federal prosecutors.

Eun-jong Lee, a 47-year-old Ithaca resident, was charged with abusive sexual conduct when he arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday evening, according to The Associated Press. He was a visiting scholar who worked in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis in the College of Human Ecology from April 2013 to March 2014.

He appeared in court at the U.S. District Court in Newark on Monday, according to the AP. If convicted, Lee could face up to two years in prison.

During the United Airlines flight from Tokyo to Newark, Lee was seated next to a female passenger who fell asleep during the flight, according to a complaint filed by Special Agent Mary Anne Flippo of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Later, the victim awoke to find Lee’s hands on top of her shirt, touching her breast through her clothing, according to the report. He then touched her neck and attempted to “place his hand down the front of the victim’s shirt.”

After the woman asked Lee to stop touching her, he “quickly got up from his seat and walked toward the restroom.” The woman then reported the incident to a flight crew member.

Joel Malina, vice president for University Relations said in a statement Tuesday that Lee’s “privileges at Cornell have been suspended and his future with the University will be assessed as the facts of this matter are confirmed.”