TSA fires worker accused of sexual assault

TSA fires worker accused of sexual assault

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has fired an employee accused of sexually assaulting a passenger at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said the screener, whose name has not been released, has been terminated from the agency.

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"TSA holds its employees to the highest standards.  As such, we expect our employees to conduct themselves with integrity, professionalism, and with respect for the public we serve," Neffenger said in a statement that was provided to The Hill.

"When our employees fail to meet these fundamental ethical standards, we will hold our personnel appropriately accountable," the TSA chief continued. "The vast majority of the TSA workforce serves with honor and integrity, and treats every passenger with dignity and respect. TSA is working in close partnership with the Port Authority Police Department in support of this investigation."

A 22-year-old foreign exchange student told police she was forced into a restroom by a TSA worker who proceeded to touch her inappropriately, according to local media reports. The student was told she needed "additional screening,” according to police officials who responded to the incident.

TSA workers have been accused of sexual assault in the past, including most recently by British singer Morrissey, who alleged that an employee of the agency who worked at the San Francisco International Airport "put his finger down my rear cleavage."

Morrissey said in a recent interview with Larry King that the TSA worker touched him inappropriately after he had already been through one of the agency's X-ray machines.

"I had been through the full scanner and I had been through the second bit, so everything was fine and clear, and then he went straight for my private bits and then he put his finger down my rear cleavage," Morrissey said.

TSA officials have said that they are looking into Morrissey's complaint.

"TSA takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and strives to treat every passenger with dignity and respect," TSA sSpokesman Mike England said in a statement provided to The Hill after Morrissey's initial complaint was made public in July.  

"Upon review of closed circuit TV footage, TSA determined that the supervised officer followed standard operating procedures in the screening of this individual," England continued.

— This story was updated at 4:14 p.m.