Pastor accused of assaulting wife over seat upgrade – AeroTime

Pastor accused of assaulting wife over seat upgrade – AeroTime

Bradley Caslin /

An evangelical pastor is facing federal charges after allegedly punching his wife in the head because she was upgraded to first class and he was not.

Roger Allan Holmberg, 75, was on flight AS 275 from Seattle Tacoma Airport (SEA) to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) with his wife on July 2, 2024.

The couple were traveling to Alaska for “ministry-related” meetings, according to the criminal complaint seen by The Independent.

In the complaint, a passenger seated next to Holmberg’s wife recounted how the pastor, who was in economy class, stormed the first-class cabin to confront his wife.

Holmberg allegedly asked, “How the hell did you get an upgrade?” to which his 59-year-old wife replied, “I’m a Gold Point member. Don’t talk to me like that.”

The complaint says Holmberg went to his wife a second time, handed her his cell phone and told her to read what was on the screen before giving her “the finger.”

The pastor returned a third time and “pushed in front” of his wife’s seatmate “and attempted to swing his arm toward the victim,” according to the complaint. The seatmate attempted to block the blow, but Holmberg still managed to strike his wife’s head with his hand.

The complaint also states that Holmber’s wife later admitted to her seatmate that the pastor had assaulted her in the past, an incident that left her with a broken finger.

An off-duty police officer sat in front of Holmberg’s wife and told the pastor, “You can’t do this,” after observing the alleged assault.

When the flight landed in Anchorage, Holmberg was met by an FBI agent and an airport police officer.

During questioning, Holmberg’s wife, who suffers from epilepsy, told police she had been assaulted in the past. Holmberg told investigators he and his wife had sought counseling to help them navigate their relationship, but appeared to place all of the blame for the incidents on his wife.

According to the complaint, Holmberg said he did not intend to hit his wife during the flight, but simply wanted to “pat” her on the head to get her attention.

Holmberg was arrested on one count of simple assault in the United States Maritime and Territorial Special Jurisdiction and transported to the Anchorage Correctional Facility to await arraignment.