Man sentenced to federal prison for 2010 assault

ATLANTA – A federal judge last week sentenced a 61-year-old Alpharetta man to six months in prison after he pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching a woman on a Delta Air Lines flight last year, federal authorities said.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story also sentenced Ranchhodbhai Lakha to a year of supervised release following the six-month prison sentence. Lakha, who pleaded guilty on June 29 to a charge of abusive sexual contact, must also pay a $5,000 fine and register as a sex offender.

According to federal authorities, Lakha inappropriately touched a 20-year-old woman sitting in his row on board a Delta flight from Dallas to Atlanta last September. The woman awoke and told Lakha, a former hotel owner, to stop.

After Lakha touched the woman a second time, she reported the assault to a flight attendant.

“This defendant thought he could get away with taking advantage of a defenseless, sleeping passenger sitting next to him,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. “He was wrong. He will now serve time in a federal prison.”

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