updated 11/15/2006 5:55:17 PM ET 2006-11-15T22:55:17

A California couple faces federal charges after allegedly refusing to stop "overt sexual activity" on a flight to Raleigh.

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

Carl Warren Persing of Lakewood, Calif., and Dawn Elizabeth Sewell of Huntington Beach, Calif., were indicted on charges of interfering with flight crew members during their Sept. 15 Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles.

According to court documents, flight attendants saw Persing and Sewell kissing, embracing and "acting in a manner that made other passengers uncomfortable" while the plane was stopped in Phoenix.

A flight attendant asked them to stop. They obeyed initially but resumed the behavior during the flight from Phoenix to Raleigh, authorities said.

When the flight attendant again requested them to stop, Persing allegedly told the flight attendant: "I'm going to give you one warning to get out of my face."

Persing and Sewell continued the verbal harassment after a flight attendant refused to serve Persing alcohol, according to court documents.

Law enforcement officials were waiting for the couple when they arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Lawyer disputes claims
The attorney representing Persing, meanwhile, claims the traveler was lying with his head on Sewell's lap because he wasn't feeling well.

That gesture was misinterpreted by a flight attendant, who humiliated and harassed the couple, said attorney Deb Newton.

“The one witness I’ve talked to and the defendant dispute almost everything in the government’s affidavit as to what happened on that airplane,” Newton said.

She said Persing suffers from a chronic disease requiring medication that makes him drowsy, dizzy and irritable. She would not identify the disease to protect her client’s privacy.

Newton said she will ask that the charges be dismissed.

Sewell’s lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments