A 22-year-old man from American Samoa pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of abusive sexual contact in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, according to the FBI.
Investigators say Luavalu Seuvaai groped a woman sitting next to him aboard a recent Hawaiian Airlines flight from Manila.
According to a court affidavit, Seuvaai and the woman initially had a conversation about their backgrounds and travels during last week's flight to Honolulu.
The woman had taken some cold medicine and was trying to sleep when she realized he had placed her hand on his crotch. He then proceeded to touch her legs, the skin near her waist and then her breast.
The document says Seuvaai said he thought the woman had been flirting with him.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang ordered Seuvaai released to the custody of an Oahu resident who agreed to be his third-party custodian on a $25,000 signature bond.
Seuvaai's next court appearance is set for Sept. 7. He faces up to two years in prison.