Convicted NJ airline groper sentenced to 8 years

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A northern New Jersey man convicted of sexually abusing a sleeping woman on a flight has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Bawer Aksal (BAO'-uhr OCK'-sall) was convicted last summer of sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact. A federal judge in Newark sentenced the North Bergen man to 97 months on Wednesday.

The woman testified that the 49-year-old Turkish-born American citizen groped her as she slept on a United Airlines from Phoenix to Newark in August 2012. She testified that she awoke to find Aksal's hand on her breast and his other hand in her shorts, penetrating her with his fingers.

Aksal claimed the woman's account of the incident contained inconsistencies and that the alleged assault couldn't have happened the way she described it.

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