updated 4/12/2011 3:56:53 PM ET 2011-04-12T19:56:53

A New Jersey man has admitted he sexually assaulted a sleeping female passenger on a flight from Hong Kong to Newark.

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Sixty-four-year-old Ramesh Advani, of Berkeley Heights, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Newark to a charge of abusive sexual contact.

Prosecutors say Advani was seated next to the victim on an overnight Continental Airlines flight on May 21, 2010.

Advani admitted he reached under a blanket covering the woman and assaulted her. She awoke and alerted the flight crew. Advani was detained when the plane landed.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

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