Man charged with sex assault at US airport

Noel Bertrand is suspected of raping a 22-year-old woman at Denver International Airport and charged with one count of sexual assault.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011, 15:55 PM IST

Denver: A man suspected of raping a
22-year-old woman at Denver International Airport was charged
with one count of sexual assault.

Noel Bertrand, 26, of Portland, Oregon was accused of
assaulting the woman just after midnight April 12 on the floor
of a concourse. Two airport employees on the tarmac saw the
incident through a window and intervened, authorities said
yesterday.

The woman`s family members said they were shocked to
hear that Bertrand was only charged with one count. Several
messages seeking comment from family lawyer Patrick Ridley
were not immediately returned.

The news agency does not use the names of people
who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be
identified. The agency also isn`t identifying family members to
protect the woman`s identity.

Bertrand was being held on USD 50,000 bond and was due
in court Thursday, when a public defender could be named to
represent him.

He could face a sentence of up to 12 years in prison
if convicted, but he would have to qualify for parole to be
released and could end up imprisoned for life even after
completing his term.

The victim`s family members said the woman had missed
a flight and decided to spend the night at the airport. A man
struck up a conversation at a restaurant, then followed the
woman to a spot where he sat next to her and tried to kiss
her, according to her family.

Court documents say Bertrand hit the woman in the eye
and choked her by her shirt collar as he threw her to the
floor and assaulted her.

PTI