Associated Press, Published August 12 2011
US skier tossed off team, faces federal charge over in-flight urinationNEW YORK — An 18-year-old was dismissed from the U.S. Ski Team's development squad after he was accused of getting drunk and then urinating on a fellow passenger aboard a JetBlue flight.
Robert “Sandy” Vietze, of Warren, Vt., was detained by police at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning after arriving on a red-eye flight from Portland, Ore.
He faces a federal misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn.
“Based on the information we have, Sandy Vietze is in violation of the USSA code of conduct and team agreement, and has been dismissed from the team,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Executive Vice President of Athletics Luke Bodensteiner said in an email sent to The Associated Press on Friday.
The AP's attempts to reach Vietze and his parents for comment have been unsuccessful. The phone has been ringing unanswered at the family's home since Thursday, when news of the incident was first reported in the New York Post.
Vietze was nominated to the development team this spring after excelling as an alpine skier at the Green Mountain Valley School, a top ski academy and high school in Waitsfield, Vt., where tuition runs as much as $42,384 per year. He had been scheduled to compete on the national ski team's developmental squad for the 2011-2012 season.
A Port Authority Police Department detective wrote in court documents that Vietze told him he had consumed five or six beers and two rum and cola cocktails before boarding the flight. He said he passed out in his seat and awoke to find himself being yelled at by the father of a 12-year-old girl.
The girl's father told the detective that when he returned from a trip to the bathroom at 2:30 a.m., he found Vietze urinating on his daughter.
The man described Vietze as “out of it.”
The Port Authority initially told the AP and other news outlets Thursday that federal prosecutors had decided to drop the indecent exposure charge, but a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, Robert Nardoza, said Friday that the case is still pending.
The charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a possibility of up to a year in jail, although time behind bars would be very unusual in such a case.
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