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  • UPDATED: Troon Vineyard owner takes leave in wake of federal lewdness charge

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  • UPDATE, 2:55 p.m.: Troon Vineyard this afternoon announced that Brian Gruber will be the acting director of operations while Christopher Martin takes an indefinite leave of absence following last week's filing in federal court alleging he had sex with a woman on a commercial airline.
    Gruber has served as Troon's production manager. The appointment was announced on Troon's website by Larry Martin, the vineyard's president and Christopher Martin's father.
    The father-son duo bought the Applegate Valley vineyard in 2003 from founder Dick Troon, according to Troon's website.
    10:40 a.m.Troon Vineyard's owner will take a leave of absence while facing federal accusations that he engaged in repeated sex acts with a woman while they sat together in airline seats in front of fellow passengers on a June flight from Medford to Las Vegas.
    Vintner Christopher Martin in a Sunday letter apologized to those who were hurt or offended by what he claimed was media "misreporting" of the case that went viral Friday, three days after a criminal complaint detailing the allegations was filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada.
    "At this time, I would ask that you withhold judgment and let the legal system and due process decide the truth," Martin wrote in a letter posted Sunday on Troon's website.
    An FBI affidavit states that passengers on the June 21 Allegiant Air flight saw Martin exposing his genitals and twice joining a woman identified as Jessica 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.
    They were asked to stop by an attendant and did so during the drink and snack service, but later repeated the acts before landing, the affidavit states.
    They are each accused of one count of lewd, indecent and obscene acts on an airplane, a federal misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine, according to the complaint. No other federal documents, including any court dates, were listed this morning in the federal file.
    — Mark Freeman
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