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No charges for TSA agents accused of groping scheme

No charges for TSA agents accused of groping scheme
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No charges are being filed against a pair of Transportation Security Administration agents at Denver International Airport who were fired for allegedly plotting to grope male passengers. 

The agents, a male and female who have not been named, were accused in April of manipulating security equipment at the Denver airport to ensure the male agent could pat down “attractive” male passengers without drawing suspicion. 

A spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s office told The Hill that officials were unable to press charges against the terminated TSA agents because they were unable to fully substantiate the groping allegations against them. 

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“DPD [the Denver Police Department] concluded its investigation into complaints of TSA misconduct and presented the cases to the DA’s office, and we have declined to file any criminal charges in connection with the investigation," Denver District Attorney Communications Director Lynn Kimbrough said in an email. 

"Basically, we were either unable to corroborate the victims’ claims with any additional facts or evidence, or prove specific incidents could have been committed by the one identified suspect, due to the dates of his employment," she continued. 

TSA officials said in April that the Denver agents were fired as soon as the groping allegations against them were validated. 

“These alleged acts are egregious and intolerable,” the agency said in a statement when the allegations were made public. 

“TSA has removed two officers from the agency,” the statement continued. “All allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated by the agency. And when substantiated, employees are held accountable.”

Denver law enforcement officials said they were initially notified about the alleged TSA groping scheme by an anonymous tip.

"The original 'case,' you may recall, was declined in April because there was no identified victim," Kimbrough said. "Media coverage of that prompted a series of new reports by alleged victims and those were then investigated. Most of those were declined because the reporting victim was not able to identify the suspect, others were declined because the incident either occurred after the alleged suspect was fired or occurred outside the statute of limitations." 

The Denver police department said the male TSA agent would provide a signal to a female worker when he wanted to pat down a male passenger in her lane. She would then tell the agency’s computer system that it was scanning a female passenger. The confusion would lead the scanning machine to request further inspection. 

TSA protocols normally require pat downs to be conducted by an agent of the same gender. 

Former interim TSA Administrator Melvin Carraway said the allegations against the Denver agents were “disturbing.”

“This blatant violation of public trust by two individuals has significantly tarnished TSA’s reputation,” he wrote in an April blog post on the TSA's website.

“Think about it — in an agency that employs more than 50,000 people, the irresponsible and potentially illegal behavior of just one or two reckless employees can severely and negatively impact the operational effectiveness of everyone else committed to carrying out our vital national security mission.”