A Bonita Springs, FL man charged with masturbating and feeling up the woman next to him on a flight from Newark to Boston was released today on $10,000 unsecured bond and will be allowed to fly back home, but then he'll have to stay off planes - the judge in his case rejected his request to fly to professional conferences while his case is pending.
Donald Edward Robinson, 75, had asked permission to fly specifically to an ophthalmology conference in Washington, DC to represent an Ohio laser-eye-treatment company for which he was a consultant last week but where he was scheduled to become COO this week.
"I'm a little concerned about his necessity to fly while this matter is pending," given what he's charged with, US District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said at a hearing today. "It seems he could do any kind of meeting by Zoom."
Bowler then rejected his request to fly - except back home to Florida, where his fiancee now has 72 hours to get his gun out of his house. Bowler also ordered him to inform the company of the charges, which he said he had done yesterday.
The US Attorney's office says that on a flight from Newark here, after transferring from a plane from Ohio, Robinson first fondled himself inside his pants, then unzipped and kept going even as the woman next to him tried to ignore what her seatmate was doing, in part by pulling a jacket over her head. But then, five minutes before landing at Logan, authorities say, he reached under her clothing and began fondling her thigh. In the hubbub of landing, authorities say, Robinson managed to get down to baggage, claim is two bags and hop on a shuttle to the Aquarium T stop - where state troopers caught up with and arrested him.
If convicted, he faces up to 90 days in prison. He told Bowler this was the first time he'd ever been arrested.
Although the woman was 21, Bowler also ordered Robinson to stay away from any places where children might congregate, including schools, libraries, playgrounds and fast-food restaurants.