Alameda man gets prison for groping girl

Criminal Law

[##_1L|1405409978.jpg|width="180" height="135" alt=""|_##]An Alameda man will spend seven months in prison for groping a 14-year-old girl he was sitting next to on a flight home from the Philippines last July, U.S. Attorney Scott Schools announced today. Benjamin Caniaveral, 48, was sentenced today in San Francisco federal court by Judge William Alsup and must report to prison by the end of the month.

Caniaveral pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of simple assault on a juvenile in October. In doing so, he admitted to intentionally touching the girl, who was sleeping in the window seat covered by a blanket.

The U.S. Attorney's office reports that Caniaveral first stroked the girl's arm with his hand, then he touched her on the stomach below the navel. The tip of his fingers reached below the waist of her pants, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The girl awoke during the incident, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, and she alerted a flight attendant.

"I laud the victim's courage in reporting and pursuing this case," said Schools. "Too often this type of attack is not reported or not punished."

The incident, which was investigated by the FBI, took place on a Philippine Airlines flight to San Francisco from Manila.

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