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