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Charges: Speedskater with history of intoxication groped seatmate on plane, diverting Utah-bound flight to Oklahoma

By Annie Knox, KSL | Posted - Nov. 8, 2019 at 9:54 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — A speedskater who was “committed to not make the same mistake again” after once facing charges of assault and intoxication in Utah is now accused of groping a fellow passenger on a flight from North Carolina to Salt Lake City.

Federal prosecutors filed a formal criminal complaint Friday against James Clayton Cholewinski-Boy, contending his alleged “abusive sexual contact” while in an aisle seat forced the flight to divert to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday.

Police arrested him there for investigation of public intoxication.

Several news agencies identified him as James Clayton Cholewinski-Boyd, a 32-year-old speedskater who is now retired.

Shortly after takeoff from Charlotte, the legal complaint says, Cholewinski-Boy touched the arm of the woman in a middle seat while her daughter sat on the other side. The woman “continually pushed his hands away from her” before he “forcibly grabbed her” between her legs, according to an affidavit filed in Tulsa’s U.S. District Court.

The woman again pushed his hand away and told him to stop, “at which time Cholewinksi-Boy threw up his hands and said ‘sorry,’” the affidavit states.

The woman and her daughter frantically flagged down the flight crew, who relocated them before the American Airlines flight touched down in Oklahoma, according to an Associated Press report.

At the time of his arrest, authorities said Cholewinksi-Boy’s “eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred,” the AP reported.

No attorney is listed for him in the federal court documents.

Last year, while living in Murray, Cholewinksi-Boy was charged in Clearfield Justice Court with domestic violence assault, criminal mischief and intoxication — all misdemeanors, court records show.

As part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to intoxication in July 2018. In exchange, the other charges were dismissed. He was ordered to a year of probation and any recommended treatment following a substance-abuse evaluation.

He completed 20 counseling sessions, above the recommended 16, and “was transparent about his own deficiencies and issues that he has been working on,” according to a note from his psychologist that was filed with the court in April.

“He is committed to not make the same mistake again that brought him before the court and requiring substance abuse counseling,” the letter says.

Court documents in the case also indicate he was arrested for DUI in South Jordan in 2010.

Annie Knox

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