TSA groping scandal: Possible victims come forward

Transportation Security Administration agents screen travelers at Denver International Airport in 2003.

Transportation Security Administration agents screen travelers at Denver International Airport in 2003.

(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)

Two fired Transportation Safety Administration agents allegedly involved in a scheme to grope passengers at Denver International Airport could face criminal charges after several victims contacted prosecutors and police Wednesday.

At least two men came forward, claiming they had been inappropriately fondled by TSA agents while passing through airport security in recent months, according to Lynn Kimbrough, communications director for the Denver district attorney’s office.

Several other men have contacted prosecutors and the Denver Police Department since news of the groping scandal broke Tuesday, she said.

“On the heels of the media coverage about this we have heard from a few people, and I believe other media outlets have heard from people who believe they may have been a victim,” Kimbrough said. “They are all being referred to the Police Department for further investigation.”

The plot involved a male TSA agent signaling a female counterpart when he noticed a male passenger he wanted to touch, according to a Denver police report released on Tuesday.


The female agent would falsely tell the scanning machine that the traveler was a woman so that the system would indicate an abnormality in the traveler’s groin area and allow the male agent to perform a pat-down search, according to the report.

During the search, the male agent would touch the “passenger’s front groin and buttocks area with the palms of his hands, which is contradictory to TSA searching policy,” the police report said.

The TSA learned of the scheme through an anonymous tip. Both agents have been fired.

“These alleged acts are egregious and intolerable,” the TSA said in an emailed statement. “All allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated by the agency. And when substantiated, employees are held accountable.”

According to the police report, the female agent told a TSA investigator that she had participated in the ruse at least 10 times, though it is not clear when the scheme began.

The case was presented to the district attorney’s office in late March, and Kimbrough said prosecutors considered filing unlawful sexual contact charges, but ultimately didn’t because they could not identify any victims.

On Wednesday, Kimbrough declined to say what charges the TSA agents, who have not been identified, could face.

A spokeswoman for the Denver Police Department said it was not clear how many potential victims had contacted law enforcement officials and local media outlets Wednesday.

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