Fox's testimony affirms his sexual misconduct
Today's sentencing of the ex-legislator could draw home detention
Former lawmaker Galen Fox testified that he intentionally put his hand on the thigh of a female passenger and rubbed her crotch, according to transcripts of his Oct. 20 trial.
The statements, elicited by U.S. District Judge Margaret Nagle, contradict the version of events Fox gave the Star-Bulletin that he only touched the woman on the arm. Fox (R, Waikiki) resigned in November after revealing he had been convicted of sexual misconduct.
Federal prosecutors in the Central District of California were to ask the judge today to sentence Fox to a maximum five years' probation, including six months in home detention, because he refuses to admit wrongdoing and take responsibility for his actions.
"In the face of defendant's lack of acceptance, the government believes that a six-month term of home detention and a five-year term of probation are appropriate to protect the public," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Rupa S. Goswami in papers filed earlier this month.
The government is also requesting that the court order Fox to register as a sex offender -- it was not specified in what state he would have to register -- undergo sex offender evaluation and sex offender treatment programs as necessary and to obtain permission from his probation officer before flying.
At trial, Fox maintained that the sleeping woman welcomed the sexual encounter, according to the transcripts.
He maintained that by not removing her arm from the arm rest when he placed his arm there, the woman was giving him a nonverbal clue that she was sexually interested, prosecutors said.
Following the nonjury trial, Nagle found Fox guilty of a misdemeanor count of abusive sexual contact with another person without their consent.
Despite his conviction, Fox continued to deny the woman's charges and insisted that he had only touched her right hand when she jumped up from her seat.
The unidentified woman and her parents took a red-eye flight to Las Vegas via Los Angeles for the holidays on United Airlines' Flight 56 on Dec. 18, 2004. Exhausted after completing final exams, the woman took some Dramamine and fell asleep, prosecutors said.
The woman told the FBI that she awoke to a warm sensation against her crotch and discovered the male passenger in the seat next to her, later identified as Fox, had his hands in her jeans and was rubbing her crotch. She jumped up and confronted Fox, who apologized for touching her, then pretended to go to sleep, prosecutors said.
At trial, Fox testified that the during the in-flight movie, he believed the woman was awake and that she had made no response when he pressed his arm against hers, then later his leg against her leg, the transcripts said.
"I felt that she was interested in some physical contact," transcripts quote him as saying, when asked to interpret her lack of response to his touch.
Then, according to his testimony, about 20 minutes or a half hour later, "I put my hand on her thigh downward. And, then, I turned it very deliberately upward, inviting her to essentially place her hand in my hand."
He went on to say, according to the transcripts, that he ran his hand briefly down her leg, hoping she would withdraw her hand which was under the blanket. "I touched her crotch area and ran into a bump."
Embarrassed and unable to discern what the bump was, he said he withdrew his hand, the transcripts said.
He admitted that the woman did not react or make any sound when he was rubbing her thigh and her crotch area, and that she did not invite his conduct nor give him permission to touch her.
According to the transcript, the judge asked if he intended to move his hand up along her thigh, for whatever purpose, and Fox answered, "yes."
"And you did rub her crotch. That was an intentional act?" the judge asked, to which he again answered "yes."
The woman immediately reported the incident to flight attendants, noting that Fox had unfastened her seat belt and her pants zipper to access her crotch.
Upon arrival at the Los Angeles International Airport, Fox admitted to airport police that he had touched the woman on her leg and thigh. "He explained that he was having a 'moment,' and asked for an opportunity to apologize to the victim," Goswami said in her papers.
Later that evening when questioned by the FBI, Fox admitted to wanting to touch the woman and that he should not have been touching her. He explained that he had been listening to his iPod and was "in a mood" but denied the contact was sexual and that he only reached out to hold the woman's hand, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the judge found the woman's testimony to be credible and that she was asleep when Fox assaulted her.
Because of the sexual assault, the woman has since postponed her studies. She has difficulty sleeping and concentrating and suffers from anxiety, fear and numbness, prosecutors said.