Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Man sentenced in Nebraska for masturbating near teenager on 2017 flight
0 Comments
editor's pick

Man sentenced in Nebraska for masturbating near teenager on 2017 flight

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}

A Washington man who in September pleaded guilty to a federal sex crime for masturbating on an airplane next to an 18-year-old woman after rubbing her thigh as she slept learned his fate in a Lincoln courtroom on Thursday. 

Ian Wagner, 39, was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison and ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the woman who had been seated next to him. 

United States District Court Judge John M. Gerrard issued the sentence on Thursday, less than four months after Wagner pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact of an incapacitated person. 

As a part of the plea deal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessi Smith moved to drop two other federal sex crime charges.

Wagner will be under supervised release for six years after he gets out of prison and will be required to attend, complete and pay for any counseling services recommended by his probation officer in that time. He will report to a federal correctional facility near Seattle on March 9. 

The sentencing comes more than four years after the 18-year-old awoke to Wagner rubbing his hand on her thigh on a Frontier Airlines flight between Indianapolis and Denver in October 2017. Wagner, at the time, was a resident of New Haven, Indiana. 

After pulling her leg away, discreetly taking a photo of Wagner and using the airplane's restroom, the woman returned to her seat, under the impression it was the only available one on the plane, according to prosecutors. 

When the 18-year-old returned, she found Wagner with a jacket over his lap. He later exposed his penis to her and proceeded to masturbate while staring at the woman for more than five minutes, Smith said.  

The woman, who addressed the court by Zoom on Thursday, said the incident had negatively impacted her life for the last four years. She said she would never feel safe or comfortable around strangers again and hasn't sat in a window or middle seat on a plane since then, now aware of the possibility that she may have to escape.

Wagner and the state had agreed to a pre-sentencing recommendation of a 12-month prison sentence, but Gerrard opted for a longer term, noting the habitual nature of what he described as Wagner's "stunts." 

Smith detailed Wagner's previous exploits at Thursday's hearing, noting he had publicly masturbated at a gas station, a Target store and in a parking lot on separate occasions in Indiana.

And in a fourth incident in 2014, Smith said, Wagner masturbated in his vehicle in the parking lot of a dance studio while his 3-year-old child sat in the back seat.

Addressing Gerrard, defense attorney Justin Kalemkiarian said his client had shown a "tremendous amount of remorse" in the years since the incident. He said Wagner had opted not to go to trial so the 18-year-old woman wouldn't be forced to relive the events of that flight.  

Wagner, who appeared in court in person, was apologetic in his statement, asking for the 18-year-old's forgiveness. He was charged in Nebraska because authorities said the jet was over the state at the time of the sexual assault.

"In the end, it was my own actions — and no one else — that put me here," Wagner said. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or awegley@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @andrewwegley

0 Comments

Locations

Get Wahoo news delivered!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Recommended for you

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics