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Airport security worker allegedly fondles passenger in restoom

According to a statement released by the Queens District Attorney, a 21-year-old female was allegedly unlawfully imprisoned and sexually abused by a Transportation Security Administration agent at LaGuardia Airport.

The college student had just disembarked from a flight originating in Salt Lake City when she reportedly was approached by the screener, a 40-year-old Manhattan man. At the time, she was not in a passenger screening area, yet according to official records, the TSA employee told her that her "body and . . . luggage" required screening.

The victim's statement described the man motioning her to accompany him to a restroom. She reported that when she requested a female employee conduct the screening, she was ordered up against a mirror with raised arms.

Her statement further alleges that she was forced to raise her top and unzip her pants. The screener reportedly "touched her breasts and other areas of her body over and under her clothing." He declined to check her baggage, instead speaking into a cellphone, "She's clear. She doesn't have any weapons or knives," the statement read.

TSA prohibits officers from conducting secondary pat-downs away from the checkpoint area. Witnesses must also be present for pat-downs of passengers by TSA personnel of the opposite sex. All secondary searches must take place in private screening areas.

The TSA administrator issued his own statement that claimed the employee had been terminated. According to the district attorney's statement, the former employee was arrested and awaits arraignment for official misconduct, 2nd degree unlawful imprisonment, 2nd degree harassment and 3rd degree sexual abuse. He could receive as much as a year in jail if convicted.

Cases such as that one essentially become a "he said, she said" argument. A skilled criminal defense attorney can often systematically dismantle a prosecutor's case point by point in court.

Source: CNN, "New York TSA worker accused of sexually abusing passenger," Ray Sanchez, Aug. 29, 2015

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