• U.S.

TSA Agent Arrested for Groping Passenger During Fake Search

2 minute read

A Transportation Security Administration agent at LaGuardia airport was charged Friday with sexually abusing a female passenger on the bogus pretext of checking her for weapons.

The incident occurred earlier this week, when the 40-year-old TSA agent allegedly told the 21-year-old woman, a college student from Korea, that he needed to screen her for weapons after she had walked out of the sterile checkpoint area and into the area where passengers no longer need to be checked.

The woman asked to be screened by a female agent, according to a press release from the Queens District Attorney’s Office, but the TSA agent allegedly insisted she come into the bathroom with him. When she asked if all passengers were screened this way, he said they were. In the bathroom, the agent groped the victim, before saying into his cell phone something like “she’s clear, she doesn’t have any weapons or knives,” according to the DA’s office.

The TSA has terminated the agent and is cooperating with the Port Authority on the investigation, a TSA spokesman said. The DA’s office has charged the agent with unlawful imprisonment and sexual abuse. If convicted, he could face a year in prison. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com