Federal prison for man who sexually abused teenager on plane

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PHOENIX - The following is a release from the U.S. Department of Justice:

Shawn Michael Cole, 40, of Honolulu, Hawaii, was sentenced here yesterday to seven years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton. Cole pleaded guilty on May 20, 2008 to Sexual Abuse of a Minor and Abusive Sexual Contact.

Both crimes were committed aboard an aircraft. At the completion of his sentence, Cole will be on lifetime supervised release and must register as a sex offender.

In January 2008, Cole was sitting next to a 13-year-old girl who was traveling by air with her father from Honolulu to Phoenix. He chatted with the girl, shared a movie on his computer with her and paid for snacks.

As she tried to fall asleep he continually asked her quietly if she was asleep and when he believed she was, he began touching her sexually. Too afraid to resist, the girl continued to pretend to be asleep. A flight attendant noticed Cole touching the victim inappropriately and separated the two. Upon arrival in Phoenix, Cole was arrested.