A Peruvian church pastor is facing federal charges for allegedly clutching a sleeping woman’s buttocks on a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles last month, according to court documents obtained Friday by City News Service.

Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.
Juan Carlos Del Carmen Leyva, 41, is charged in Los Angeles with abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft stemming from the April 18 incident.

Court papers filed Wednesday allege Leyva admitted touching the sleeping woman — whom he did not know — on the outside of her pants for about three minutes “with the intent to arouse and gratify his sexual desire.”

According to the signed plea agreement, Leyva is expected to plead guilty in exchange for a prison sentence of no more than a year.

Leyva initially attempted to engage the woman — identified only as S.R. — in conversation, but she was not interested “because he had horrible breath,” according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent who investigated the allegations.

At some point, after she fell asleep, she was awakened by Leyva squeezing her right buttock, the agent wrote.

The woman, who was traveling with her sister, called over a flight attendant to report the incident, according to the document.

When the attendant arrived, Leyva allegedly apologized, saying, “I’m sorry. I have a family.” He attempted to show a photo he had removed from his wallet, according to the FBI agent, who alleged that Leyva “admitted that he had desire and intent to touch S.R.” and added that “he could not lie to God.”

Leyva is the pastor of a church in Peru and had been traveling around the United States for about a week visiting houses of worship, the affidavit says.

— City News Service

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