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Man Accused Of Groping Woman On Plane, Protesting That He Didn’t ‘Molest’ Her

A JetBlue plane is seen at John F. Kennedy International Airport (file/photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

A JetBlue plane is seen at John F. Kennedy International Airport (file/photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A graphic affidavit has been released detailing the alleged behavior of an Upper East Side man who allegedly groped and harassed a woman on a cross-country JetBlue flight last year.

Brett Zorse, 50, was reportedly charged with simple assault in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, in connection with the groping. An affidavit issued last May – but docketed in court Wednesday – on the charges was published by the Smoking Gun.

The publication said Zorse was traveling back to New York from San Francisco in April of last year with his 12-year-old son, and a 32-year-old woman was sitting next to him. The affidavit said Zorse started chatting the woman up even before the plane took off, and his remarks quickly turned sexual.

The woman told authorities that Zorse was “touchy-feely” throughout the flight, and that when she offered to get something out of the overhead bin for Zorse so he wouldn’t have to climb over her, he remarked, “I’d really like to climb over you,” the affidavit said.

The woman either ignored Zorse or told him she didn’t want to talk about the subjects he was bringing up. Then, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours into the flight, the woman told Zorse she was going to sleep and that she would see him when they landed, the affidavit said.

About 40 minutes before landing, the woman woke up to find Zorse with his hand up her skirt, massaging her thigh, the affidavit said. When the woman asked what he was doing, Zorse responded, “It’s not like I molested you,” and pointed out that he did not touch her genitals or breasts, the affidavit said.

Zorse then allegedly told the woman, “I wouldn’t mind a massage,” the affidavit said.

The woman began crying and went to the lavatory, prompting protests from Zorse, who said, “What’s the matter, you don’t trust me anymore?” the affidavit said.

When the plane landed, Zorse asked for the woman’s business card, but the woman said she didn’t have any and offered to take his, the affidavit said. He gave the woman his card, and asked her to contact him about a self-help forum he was involved with, “not about how I woke you up.”

The woman was in contact with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police soon afterward, the affidavit said. When police interviewed Zorse a short time later, he said he did not have his hand up her skirt – only on her leg – and that he thought he had a “bond” with her and didn’t have a problem with it, the affidavit said.

It was not clear how long ago Zorse was actually charged, or why the court papers were only docketed this past week, the Smoking Gun pointed out. He could face up to six months in jail if convicted.

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