An Indian man allegedly sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman from the United States, on a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit city in Michigan on Wednesday while she was asleep, local daily The Detroit News reported on Thursday. Police arrested the accused, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, and produced him in court.

Federal prosecutors claimed that Ramamoorthy assaulted the woman while his wife was sitting in the aisle seat. The prosecution claimed that Ramamoorthy, who has a travel visa to the US, was a flight risk and danger to people.

Ramamoorthy, who works for a Troy-based information technology company, has been charged with aggravated sexual abuse, which carries a prison term of five years. Following Thursday’s trial, the accused was detained without bond.

When the complainant woke up, the accused stop the alleged act. However, she complained to the flight attendant, after which Ramamoorthy was taken into custody at the Wayne County Airport Authority. He claimed that he was in a “deep sleep” and had not committed sexual assault. But the accused later confessed to Federal Bureau of Investigation officials that he “might have” undone the woman’s bra and cupped her breast.

The woman’s allegations were “odd and counterintuitive”, given that the accused’s wife was in the next seat, Executive Magistrate Judge R Steven Whalen said on Thursday. Whalen urged Ramamoorthy to appeal the detention order.

“I have a hard time with some of these allegations but that is what a trial is for,” defence lawyer Richard O’Neill said. “There have been no allegations from anywhere that his behaviour has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident.”