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TSA worker charged with sexually violating female traveler, using cell phone to see up her skirt


TSA

(NaturalNews) A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener working at Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport was relieved of his duties without pay recently after being caught sneaking video footage of a female traveler walking up an escalator.

Reports indicate that 29-year-old Nicholas Fernandez was seen leaving his post at the security line to follow the woman up the escalator to take pictures of her with his mobile phone. But he wasn't filming her face; instead, he pointed the camera underneath the woman's skirt, claims a TSA special agent who saw it happen from afar.

The agent says Fernandez's phone released a sudden flash as he aimed it underneath the woman's garments, a form of sexual assault that resulted in intervention from local law enforcement who later arrested Fernandez and charged him with voyeurism.

Responding to the incident, a TSA spokesperson indicated that the federal agency "does not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct," and that "when such conduct is alleged, TSA investigates it thoroughly."

"When appropriate, TSA requests that it be investigated by a law enforcement authority," reads a statement issued by TSA in the wake of the controversy. "When an investigation finds that misconduct has occurred, the appropriate action is taken."

Fernandez remains jailed at the Regional Justice Center (RJC) in Kent, near Seattle, in lieu of a $7,500 bail that was later upped to $20,000 after authorities declared that he had "abused his position of authority." It also appears that this isn't Fernandez's first rodeo; he's apparently done this before, and is only now facing consequences.

TSA has extensive history of sexual abuse against travelers

And this is hardly the first time that TSA screeners have been outed for such perversion while on the job. In April 2015, two TSA screeners were fired after witnesses say that the one screener, a woman by the name of Yasmeen Shafi, aided the other screener, a man by the name of Ty Spicha, in selecting attractive males from the security line for pat downs.

According to NBC News, the duo had a little system in place where when a good-looking male traveler came through the security line, the female would intentionally tamper with the naked body scanner to detect a false anomaly on the traveler's body. The male TSA screener would then come over and pat the male traveler down in the groin area with the palm of his hand, in violation of TSA protocol.

Victims of this unlawful sexual contact by federal employees never actually came forward to press charges because, like most Americans, these highly-invasive, full-body pat downs are now considered to be completely normal. But witnesses identified the scheme and notified the proper authorities, who took action in removing the two TSA screeners from their posts.

Later that year, a TSA screener at New York's LaGuardia Airport was charged with unlawfully imprisoning and sexually abusing a college student traveler outside of the security area. Forty-year-old Maxie Oquendo reportedly targeted the 21-year-old girl for a "screening" in one of the airport's bathrooms.

Oquendo lured the girl into the bathroom after telling her that he needed to scan her body and luggage. When she requested a female screener instead, Oquendo pretended to be a police officer, demanding that she face the other way and put her hands up, at which he proceeded to lift up her skirt, unzip her pants, and repeatedly grope her body.

Sources for this article include:

NBCNews.com

SeattleTimes.com

NBCNews.com

Denver.CBSLocal.com

CNN.com

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