MISSOULA — A Texas man accused of groping a minor girl while on a flight to Bozeman admitted to a sexual assault crime on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Vincent Harry Kopacek, 76, of Fredericksburg, Texas, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with abusive sexual contact.
Kopacek faces a maximum of two years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided.
Sentencing was set for June 1 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen.
The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Kopacek was released pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that on July 8, 2021, Kopacek was on an evening flight from Austin, Texas, to Bozeman and was seated by a window on the airplane.
The victim, identified as Jane Doe, who was 15 at the time, was seated in the row in front of Kopacek and her seat was fully upright during the flight.
While in flight, Kopacek reached his hand along the interior wall of the aircraft and around to the seat in front of him.
Kopacek touched Doe’s arm and moved his hand between her arm and torso. He then touched and rubbed the victim.
Doe recorded the touching with her cellular phone, and, while on the aircraft, looked at Kopacek and took photos of him.
Doe later described being scared and that the unwanted touching made her feel disrespected and gross.
Investigators downloaded the videos and images from Doe’s phone and confirmed Kopacek’s identity.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport Public Safety Office.