Polish Priest Accused of Groping Teen Girl on Plane

July 17, 2008

NEW YORK — A Catholic priest faces up to two years in a federal prison after being indicted Thursday with sexually abusing a 16-year old girl aboard a flight from Poland to Newark Liberty International Airport on July 5, prosecutors say.

US Attorney Christopher J. Christie said Tomasz Adam Zielinski, 31, was traveling to the US on a religious visa when the incident occurred. Zielinski is associated with a church in Manville, New Jersey.

Court papers say Zielinsli was seated next to a 16-year old girl on the flight from Warsaw when he reached under her blanket and began touching her thigh. The girl blocked his hand and approached the flight crew who changed her seat.

Later in the flight, Zielinski approached the girl, said he was sorry and asked for forgiveness, the court papers say.

The flight crew directed Zielenski to his seat, prosecutors say.

Zielinski surrendered to FBI agents on July 11th.

US Attorney Christie said Zielinsli is charged with one count of abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft. In addition to a prison sentence, Zielinski could be fined $250,000.


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