NewsCrime and Courts


Man admits groping minor girl on airplane flight to Bozeman

Sentencing set for June 1
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Posted at 11:12 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 01:12:30-05

GREAT FALLS — Vincent Harry Kopacek, accused of groping a minor girl while on a flight to Bozeman, admitted in federal court to a sexual assault crime on Thursday, February 3, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said in a news release that Kopacek, of Fredericksburg, Texas, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with abusive sexual contact.

Prosecutors 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 15-year old victim, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, was seated in the row in front of Kopacek and her seat was upright during the flight.

During the flight 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 looked at Kopacek and took photos of him.

Doe later said she was 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.

Kopacek, 76 years old, faces up to two years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and one year of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen DeSoto presided. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee 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.