Man Convicted Of Molesting 8-Year-Old Girl During Flight

Friday, February 16th 2007, 10:15 pm
By: News On 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A businessman was convicted Friday in federal court of sexually touching an 8-year-old girl who was sitting next to him on an airplane.

Ronald Evan Mays, 46, was found guilty of abusive sexual contact with a child, assault and obstruction of justice. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

The girl was flying alone on a Southwest Airlines flight from Tampa to Nashville, Tenn., en route to Detroit to visit her grandmother in June. She testified that Mays pulled her legs onto his lap and caressed her thigh.

Mays also reached across her to touch the plane's window and placed his forearm against her chest, she told the jury, and touched his pants frequently throughout the flight.

Mays' attorney claimed it was someone else on the flight _ which did not have assigned seating _ who committed the abuse.

The girl picked his picture out of a lineup and a woman on the flight identified Mays as the one who was sitting next to the girl.

Prosecutors said Mays also used a software program to destroy files on his computer after the government had requested it. Some files were recovered and show scenes of child pornography, prosecutors said.