A TSA officer has been accused of molesting an airline passenger inside a bathroom at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
According to NewsOXY, a female college student was going through security when a TSA officer — who was off duty, but dressed in his uniform — told her that he needed to further check her out for security purposes. Maxie Oquendo, 40, motioned for the woman to follow him to a nearby restroom, where he allegedly touched her inappropriately multiple times.
“Hey, ma’am, I need to scan your body and your luggage,” Maxie Oquendo told the 22-year-old woman. “[He] had her lift up her shirt and unzip her pants and touched her breasts and other areas of her body over and under her clothing,” read an explanation from the district attorney. Oquendo then spoke into a cell phone, saying, “She’s clear. She doesn’t have any weapons or knives,” according to CNN. It is believed that his “cell phone conversation” was faked.
The TSA officer accused of the inappropriate behavior has been fired from his job. He has been charged with forcible touching, official misconduct, and unlawful imprisonment.
TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger confirmed that Oquendo had been fired.
“TSA holds its employees to the highest standards. As such, we expect our employees to conduct themselves with integrity, professionalism and with respect for the public we serve,” said Neffenger in a statement.
Oquendo was in violation of TSA security guidelines, beyond the fact that he was at work when he wasn’t on the clock. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Oquendo did not follow any kind of protocol. It is unclear how he was able to convince the passenger to follow him into the bathroom, but it is presumed that she was just trying to follow directions from an airport staff member, whom she trusted.
“A secondary pat-down outside of a checkpoint area” is not something TSA agents are permitted to do. In addition to that, another agent or “witness” is required to be present during any kind of “pat-down” when the matter concerns a passenger of the opposite sex. The screening is permitted in a “private screening area” only, and that designated area is close to the airport checkpoint.
The TSA officer accused of molestation is due in court soon. It is unclear if he has obtained an attorney, or what kinds of legal consequences he is facing.
[Photo by John Moore / Getty Images News]