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Man Accused of Groping Woman on Plane: Trump ‘Says It’s OK to Grab Women by Their Private Parts’

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

A man who was accused of groping a woman on a Southwest flight from Houston to New Mexico on Sunday reportedly cited President Donald Trump in defense of his alleged actions.

According to an affidavit, when 49-year-old Bruce Michael Alexander was arrested in Albuquerque on an abusive sexual contact charge, he told authorities that ‘the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”

The woman, who wasn’t identified, claims that Alexander twice reached forward and touched her breast while sitting behind her on the flight. She said that when she felt him touch her a second time “she rose from her seat, turned around and told the passenger behind her that she didn’t know why he thought it was OK and he needed to stop.”

The woman then asked a crew member to move to a different section of the plane. She said she had not been drinking alcohol or taking any sleep aids.

Alexander later told authorities that he didn’t recall touching the woman and was asleep for most of the flight. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

“On Sunday, airline supervisors and local law enforcement officers met flight 5421 upon its arrival in Albuquerque from Houston after allegations of inappropriate behavior by a passenger inflight. Our reports indicate that during the flight, the crew reseated at least one customer onboard,” Southwest told TIME. “We take protection of our customers very seriously, and safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Southwest.”

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com