NATIONAL NEWS

Boston doctor found not guilty on charge of lewd acts near a 14-year-old girl on an airplane

Jan 31, 2024, 12:11 PM

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston doctor was found not guilty Wednesday on a charge of lewd acts near a 14-year-old girl on an airplane after a three-day trial in federal court in Boston.

Lawyers for Dr. Sudipta Mohanty, 33, said more than a dozen passengers sitting in seats near Mohanty and flight attendants charged with serving the passengers said they didn’t see anything consistent with the accusation while on the flight.

Mohanty said the accusation and trial have been incredibly difficult for himself and his family for a crime he didn’t commit.

“My fiancé was sitting next to me on that flight, and neither of us can understand why this happened to us,” he said in a written statement. “I have dedicated my life to caring for others as a physician, and it has been heartbreaking to step away while I dealt with these false accusations.”

Mohanty opted for a bench trial, meaning his acquittal was handed down by a judge, not a jury. He had been indicted on one count of lewd, indecent and obscene acts on an aircraft.

Investigators had said Mohanty was a passenger aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Boston in May 2022 with a female companion and was seated next to a 14-year-old girl traveling with her grandparents, who were sitting nearby.

About halfway through the flight, investigators said, the 14-year-old said she noticed that Mohanty had covered himself with a blanket up to his neck and that his leg was bouncing.

A short time later, the minor said the blanket was on the floor, no longer covering Mohanty, and that Mohanty was masturbating, according to prosecutors. The minor moved herself to an empty seat in a different row. After arriving in Boston, she told family members, and police were notified.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said he was disappointed in the outcome, but he respects the verdict.

“Our office has no reservations about having proceeded with this case. Our office will remain steadfast in supporting victims, particularly minor children. It is critical that victims know they can come forward, and they will be heard and be fully supported by our office,” Levy said in a written statement.

Mohanty’s lawyer, Claudia Lagos, said the accusations have been devastating.

“Dr. Mohanty is a talented and dedicated medical doctor. He has absolutely no history of wrongdoing whatsoever,” she said in a statement. “The last six months have been a bizarre nightmare for him, and he is relieved this is finally over so that he can rebuild his life.”

Mohanty had faced a sentence of up to 90 days in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of as much as $5,000.

Mohanty, of Cambridge, worked as a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The hospital said last year that he is no longer practicing at the hospital.

National News

Associated Press

Kamala Harris is preparing to lead Democrats in 2024. There are lessons from her 2020 bid

ATLANTA (AP) — Kamala Harris was greeted by a massive, cheering crowd during the first rally of her newly announced presidential campaign in 2019. Speaking on a late January day outside city hall in her hometown of Oakland, California, she framed her bid as part of something bigger than simply winning an election. “We are […]

11 minutes ago

FILE - Unsold 2024 Escalade utility vehicles sit in a row outside a Cadillac dealership on June 2, ...

Associated Press

With US vehicle prices averaging near $50K, General Motors sees 2nd-quarter profits rise 15%

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. customers who bought a new General Motors vehicle last quarter paid an average of just under $49,900, a price that helped push the company’s net income 15% above a year ago. And GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said he doesn’t see his company cutting prices very much, despite industry analysts’ […]

40 minutes ago

FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perfo...

Associated Press

Biles, Osaka and Phelps spoke up about mental health. Has anything changed for the Paris Olympics?

Lydia Jacoby was a breakout star in the pool for the United States at the last Summer Games, earning a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke and a relay silver. Part of what comes to mind from those heady days in Tokyo? “People talking about post-Olympic depression,” she said. She was 17 at the time, […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Harris to visit battleground Wisconsin in first rally as Democrats coalesce around her for president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is making her first visit to a battleground state Tuesday after locking up enough support from Democratic delegates to win her party’s nomination to challenge former President Donald Trump, two days after President Joe Biden dropped his reelection bid. As the Democratic Party continues to coalesce around her, […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura near Lake Charles, La., ...

Associated Press

Data shows hurricanes and earthquakes grab headlines but inland counties top disaster list

Floyd County keeps flooding and the federal government keeps coming to the rescue. In July 2022, at least 40 people died and 300 homes were damaged when the eastern Kentucky county flooded. It was the 13th time in 12 years that the rural county was declared a federal disaster. These are disasters so costly that […]

5 hours ago

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, left, talks with Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell...

Associated Press

Senate to consider bills that aim to protect children and teenagers online

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate will consider legislation this week that aims to protect children from dangerous online content, moving forward with what could become the first sweeping new regulation of the tech industry in decades. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is set to announce Tuesday that he will bring the bipartisan bill up in the […]

6 hours ago

Boston doctor found not guilty on charge of lewd acts near a 14-year-old girl on an airplane