Alfredo Vela

Alfredo Vela IV is charged with sexual battery. (Source: Metro Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - A Texas man was arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight that landed in Nashville on Sunday evening.

Flight 4562 left the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston at 7:49 p.m. and landed at Nashville International Airport at 9:31 p.m.

The victim told officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department that the suspect, later identified as 30-year-old Alfredo Vela IV, was sitting next to her on the plane.

According to the affidavit, the victim had a brief conversation with the man before she fell asleep during the flight.

The woman told police she woke up to discover Vela was rubbing her back with his hand. She said he then rubbed her inner thigh, touched her breast and then tried to put his hand under her shirt.

According to the affidavit, the woman said she was frozen in fear when the incident happened but alerted the flight crew soon afterward.

Vela reportedly admitted to police that he touched the victim's back.

Vela is charged with sexual battery. He was released on $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 19.

Southwest Airlines issued this statement about passenger safety:

We take the protection of our customers very seriously, and safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Southwest Airlines. As part of this operating philosophy, Southwest Crews are trained to take care of a wide range of sensitive customer issues, and we have zero tolerance for any type of assault onboard our aircraft. If our Crews are made aware of a harmful situation —whether witnessed first-hand or reported by someone else — our Flight Attendants are trained to notify the Pilots who will request law enforcement meet the aircraft upon landing, as appropriate. Then, Southwest cooperates with law enforcement to the fullest extent to protect our customers and crews.

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Multimedia Producer

Kara is an Emmy Award-winning digital producer. She is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of the University of South Carolina. She previously worked at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Ga., before moving to Nashville five years ago to work at WSMV-TV.

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