TSA Screener Charged With False Imprisonment Of Female Passenger

California’s Attorney General says a TSA screener ‘tricked’ a woman into baring her breasts. What he did was use the authority of the government to intimidate her, for his own sexual gratification. That agent has been arrested for false imprisonment.

He first said he had to look inside her bra to make sure she wasn’t hiding anything, then had her hold her pants away from her waist so he could look inside, she told investigators.

He subsequently took her to what he said would be a private room for more security screening, according to an arrest affidavit. But once they were alone on an elevator, she said he told her he could do the screening right there.

The woman said Lomeli told her he had to make sure she still had nothing in her bra, requiring her to lift her shirt “to show me your full breasts.” He also again looked down her pants, she said, before telling her she was free to go and adding that she had nice breasts.

We know that over 20,000 TSA employees have been accused of misconduct, over half of them multiple times. Whether it’s child sex charges or manupulating the machines we walk through so colleagues can fondle attractive passengers, these are the people we’ve given authority over us despite very little actual threats to aviation security which the agent couldn’t stop if the threats were real.

Of course agents who sexually assault passengers are merely one of just a few bad apples who in no way undermine the hard work that thousands of men and women at the TSA do to keep us safe, day in and day out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Over 20,000 TSA employees have been accused and over half of them multiple times. And you think that there is only a few bad apples??? Where is the logic???

  2. Unfortunately I don’t think this is a rare occurrence at all. Something similar happened to me at Terminal 8 at JFK two or three years ago (right before CX joined TSA Pre). Went immediately after being “cleared” by my special pat down to a Supervisor to complain, and he made it obvious that he didn’t want to hear it. Told me that I must not travel frequently if I thought I had been molested, when in actual fact I travel — especially in those days — more or less constantly and never experienced anything like it before or since. He gave me a card with an address to submit my complaint and implied that I would be making trouble for myself if I did so — and I figured that was probably right given how frequently I am at that checkpoint, and let it drop. Still upsets me to this day. I’m glad somebody at TSA is being held accountable.

  3. @Mak, I think the “normal” pat down amounts to assault. Without going into details here about my experience, I did complain and was given the same card. I followed through with the submission to the website given, and got a boilerplate response. I am interested in your statement that he implied you would be making trouble for yourself. I would think that would be illegal, but the way things are going these days, our rights seem to be diminishing steadily.

  4. @Sam, thousands were fondled, tens of thousands were treated like criminals, and most of the rest were inconvenienced by an agency that has never caught a terrorist.

  5. Dave-

    How many planes went down due to security breaches since 2001?

    As I’ve posted here before, if there are no planes harmed thru security breaches, you can say it’s all theater. If there are planes harmed, you can say TSA didn’t do their job.

    It’s a perfect internet argument.

    Have a nice Sunday.

  6. @Sam – Well said Sam. Again, if Gary did his research instead of stating irresponsible nonsense, he would know how many weapons are confiscated by TSA per year. If he would do the right thing, he would now investigate the stats of how many and what type of weapons were recovered by TSA last year. I doubt that he will do this though.

  7. “Virtually” none? Can you expand on that? Are you saying “virually” none means none or at least one, which means at least one posed threat? You know you can’t say none because you know that’s not the truth. Your readers should look up for themselves to find that there are guns confiscated at TSA checkpoints. I guess you consider a gun no longer a threat?

  8. For those of you who believe that the TSA is a waste of money, I disagree. We need TSA, if only as a deterrent. Far too many crackpots and extremists. We will never know all that they have stopped and in what ways. But they do publish statistics of some things and many photos.
    In 2017 they confiscated 3957 firearms. In 2018 they confiscated 4239 firearms and int 2019 they confiscated 4432 firearms. 87 per cent of these firearms were loaded. They also confiscate different types of live grenades (flash and smoke) as well as many inert grenades. Plus, tons of various knives, many of them hidden in something. The TSA has been in business a long time now and I do not doubt that 20,000 agents over the years have been accused or arrested in misconduct, the fact is that most of that misconduct was theft during the screening process. Cameras were ultimately installed and the numbers went down significantly, none the less, it still happens. This number in this article gives a false impression that these thousands of instances were sexual misconduct. That is not the case. That number must be very small, especially with cameras everywhere and agents of both sexes present. This is not a corrupt agency and we certainly need them.

  9. @ Jeff – Thank you Jeff for speaking the truth. Gary knows this as well but he refuses to be transparent and honest. Those statistics you cited are on the TSA website. Anyone can look them up. Very irresponsible, smh

  10. @John – they confiscated firearms from non-dangerous people. That’s not stopping terrorism. And are you suggesting that finding a gun in someone’s bag is worth sexual assault (ie ‘no big deal’)?

  11. @Gary – I’m exactly suggesting that you grow some integrity. It’s laughable how you know 100% of these people are not dangerous. You’ve consulted your crystal ball or you are somehow in the minds of these people?

  12. All it would take is one nutjob starting shooting on an airliner and TSA would seem worthwhile..I like the idea of people who are not responsible enough to remember to leave their gun at home to have their gun confiscated.
    The agent who groped this lady should face criminal charges along with being fired.

  13. Gary said: “ @Sam – TSA has said there have been no active threats against US aviation for years (in mistakenly-filed court documents)”.

    One might ask why.not.

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