A former Applegate Valley vintner and a Medford salon technician learned today that the cost of allegedly having oral sex in their seats in front of other passengers on a commercial airline flight from Medford to Las Vegas in June is $250.
But to former Troon vintner Christopher Martin, his plea today to a federal misdemeanor in the case that garnered international attention has cost him much more than that.
"I have made many mistakes in my life, none greater than this one," Martin said in a written statement sent this afternoon to the Mail Tribune. "I have lost my job, my reputation and damaged the legacy I had worked 10 years to nurture and grow. I will learn from this and move on to the next chapter in my life."
Though I am reluctant to do so, i am going to provide a statement. I feel that you and many other media have done everything to paint me in nothing but the worst possible light and i understand its what sells papers and it is what media is today, but the price i have paid is steep. although i have little hope that the following words will see the paper in there entirety, i am more comfortable with this than having a phone interview twisted into another scathing article.
First and foremost, i want to apologize to all those who have been hurt and offended by my actions. To my father, the great people at Troon, my friends and supporters, to the people on the plane, the southern Oregon wine industry and to Jessica. My actions were clearly inappropriate and inconsiderate. Seeing and hearing the level of venom directed at these people has been hardest for me and i am truly sorry for that.
From a legal perspective, I am thankful that once all the facts were presented and more witnesses came forward, that it was clear that what happened did not warrant the original charge. Although i believe that if this had come to a trial that i would have ultimately been exonerated completely, the opportunity to move on and put this behind me made today's plea necessary.
I have made many mistakes in my life, none greater than this one. I have lost my job, my reputation and damaged the legacy i had worked 10 years to nurture and grow. I will learn from this and move on to the next chapter in my life. I wish southern Oregon, the wine industry, and Troon the best.
Martin, of Las Vegas, and Medford resident Jessica Stroble each pleaded guilty in absentia today in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to a federal misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and each was sentenced to a $250 fine.
U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. ordered the fines after accepting pleas from attorneys representing Martin and Stroble, who were not required to attend today's hearing.
The pair initially were charged with a federal misdemeanor crime of lewd, indecent and obscene acts on an airplane.
An FBI affidavit states that passengers on the June 21 Allegiant Air flight saw Martin exposing his genitals and twice joined Stroble in oral sex and other acts despite warnings from flight attendants.
One of the passengers complained to an attendant that "this is not the sex education I wanted to give my teenage sons," according to the criminal complaint.
Martin and Stroble were asked to stop by an attendant and did so during the drink and snack service, but later repeated the sex acts before landing, the affidavit states.
The original charge carried a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine, according to the complaint.
In his written statement, Martin chided the Mail Tribune and other media outlets for doing "everything to paint me in nothing but the worst possible light" amid wide electronic circulation of their case.
In a follow-up statement, Martin denied that he and Stroble were exposed to passengers or flight attendants, but he declined to elaborate on the events of the flight.
Martin said he thought he would have been exonerated if his case had gone to trial, but that he pleaded guilty today to put the case behind him and move on.
Martin also apologized to "all those who have been hurt and offended by my actions," ranging from his family and friends to airline passengers, Troon workers and Stroble.
"My actions were clearly inappropriate and inconsiderate," Martin wrote. "Seeing and hearing the level of venom directed at these people has been hardest for me and I am truly sorry for that."
Troon spokeswoman Erika Bishop did not return a telephone call today seeking comment.
— Mark Freeman