The US skiing team has dismissed an 18-year-old member of its development squad, after he was accused of getting drunk and then urinating on a fellow passenger aboard a JetBlue flight to New York City.
Robert “Sandy” Vietze was detained by police at New York’s Kennedy airport on Wednesday morning, after arriving on a red-eye flight from Portland, Oregon. He faces a federal misdemeanour charge of indecent exposure, according to the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
The US Ski and Snowboard Association executive vice-president of athletics, Luke Bodensteiner, said in a statement that Vietze had been dismissed from the team for conduct violations. “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,” confirmed Bodensteiner.
Vietze was nominated to the development team this spring after excelling as an alipine skier at the Green Mountain Valley school, a top ski academy and high school in Waitsfield, Vermont, where tuition costs as much as $42,384 (£25,000) a year. He had been scheduled to compete on the national ski team’s developmental squad for the 2011-12 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 2.30am, he found Vietze urinating on his daughter. The man described Vietze as “out of it”.
The Port Authority initially told news outlets on Thursday that federal prosecutors had decided to drop the indecent exposure charge, but a spokesman for the US attorney’s office, Robert Nardoza, said on 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.