A Canadian geologist who admitted sexually assaulting a United Airlines flight attendant aboard a jet from Japan to Los Angeles was acquitted Tuesday by a judge who ruled he was insane at the time of the attack.
After a trial based on sworn statements and facts agreed upon by both sides, U.S. District Judge Pamela Rymer found Terence Robert Mikoch, 31, innocent of charges that he interfered with the crew during the Sept. 18 flight. Mikoch's lawyer, Elsa Leyva, a deputy federal public defender, said the judge declined to order him committed but suggested that he seek psychiatric help.
A psychiatrist's report said Mikoch was "delusional" and "in a psychotic state" at the time of the attack, believing "he was on a starship going to a new world" and that "the humans on the plane were androids."
Mikoch assaulted the flight attendant in the rear galley of the plane. She eventually struck him with a coffeepot filter and broke free.