Guilty Plea From Misbehaving Passenger Aboard Phila.-to-London USAir Flight

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A California man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Philadelphia to charges of interfering with a flight crew.

But it was not just the flight crew, as female passengers were molested and federal air marshals were threatened and assaulted.

The US Airways flight from Philadelphia to London on May 13th was diverted back to Philadelphia because of the incident.

Defendant Robert Coppack admitted to a series of abusive, obscene, and profane actions.

It started with the young woman sitting next to him.

“The passenger who was seated next to Mr. Coppack was an 18-year-old student travelling on a college program in London,” says proseutor Sarah Grieb.  “Mr. Coppack sat next to her, started talking with her.  Mr. Coppack admitted to drinking alcohol to her.  And Mr. Coppack started touching her inappropriately.”

Coppack admitted he poked at another woman across the aisle, fondled another woman when asked to move to the back of the plane, banged an air marshal with his shoulder, and threatened and cursed the marshals, the crew, and other passengers.

The defense says Coppack was extremely intoxicated at the time, and the defendant admitted in court to a history of mental health issues and alcohol addiction.

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