MISSOULA — A Texas man who admitted to repeatedly groping a minor teenage girl who was sitting in the seat in front of him on a flight into Bozeman was sentenced today to 20 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Vincent Harry Kopacek, 76, of Fredericksburg, Texas, pleaded guilty in February to an information charging him with abusive sexual contact.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. Judge Christensen further ordered $363 restitution and a $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. Judge Christensen remanded Kopacek into custody.
In court documents, the government alleged that on July 8, 2021, Kopacek was on an evening flight from Austin, Texas, to Bozeman and had a window seat. The victim, identified as Jane Doe, who was 15, 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. The government further alleged that Kopacek started by touching Doe’s arm, them moved to her breasts, and even tried to touch her groin area. When the victim went to the airplane’s bathroom to try to stop the abusive sexual contact, Kopacek pretended to be sleeping. When Doe returned to her seat, Kopacek would start the harassment all over again.
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 dirty, ashamed and disgusting. Investigators downloaded the images from Doe’s phone and confirmed Kopacek’s identity.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport Public Safety Office.