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Traveler: TSA Agent Conducted Very Peculiar 'Screening'

Johnathon Lomeli, accused of tricking woman into baring her breasts, is fired
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2020 2:15 PM CST
A TSA checkpoint in the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport in Valparaiso, Fla., on Jan. 17, 2019.   (Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

(Newser) – If a Transportation Security Administration agent asks you to lift up your shirt in an airport elevator, he's probably not following screening protocol. One woman found that out the hard way, and now an ex-TSA agent is facing legal repercussions. Per a criminal complaint cited by the AP, 22-year-old Johnathan Lomeli has been charged with false imprisonment by fraud or deceit after he allegedly tricked a traveler last year while she was going through security at Los Angeles International Airport. Per an arrest affidavit, the woman told investigators that during the June 10 incident, Lomeli told her he had to look into her bra to make sure she didn't have anything hidden; she says he also asked her to pull her pants away from her waist so he could peek down there, too. Then, she told investigators, Lomeli instructed her that additional screening was needed in a private room.

But while they were in the elevator going to the supposed room, Lomeli allegedly asked her to lift her shirt up so he could see her "full breasts" (which she says he complimented her on), peeked inside her pants once again, and then told her she was good to go. Per KTLA, false imprisonment under California law is defined as "the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another." A rep for the FBI, which was brought into the case, tells the AP Lomeli was fired. "Women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect everywhere," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says in a release. "There is no excuse for this kind of alleged behavior. It's not OK on the street, it's not OK in our schools, and it's certainly not welcome at the airport." Bail for Lomeli, who was arrested Thursday at his home, has been set at $50,000; his first court appearance is set for Friday. (Read more Transportation Security Administration stories.)

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