August 28, 2015 / 8:10 PM / 2 years ago

New York TSA agent charged with molesting traveler in bogus search

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Transportation Security Administration agent at New York's LaGuardia Airport was arrested after being accused of luring a woman to an airport bathroom under the pretense of a security search and molesting her, authorities said on Friday.

The suspect, identified by officials as Maxie Oquendo, 40, was wearing a TSA uniform when he brought the 22-year-old traveler to an upstairs bathroom and molested her on Tuesday night, according to Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

"Supposedly he took her into another area using his official position, being in uniform, and she thought it was a part of his official duty," Pentangelo said.

Port Authority police arrested Oquendo on Thursday on charges of forcible touching, official misconduct and unlawful imprisonment, he said.

Oquendo has since been fired by the Transportation Security Administration, officials said on Friday.

An attorney for Oquendo could not be immediately identified.

"TSA is working in close partnership with the Port Authority Police Department in support of this investigation," TSA administrator Peter Neffenger said in a statement.

Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Sandra Maler

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