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TSA supervisor charged with sex offenses involving minors

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is an agency under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security. It is engaged in ensuring the security of travelers in the United States. Recently, a TSA screening supervisor was arrested in New York and charged with sex offenses with a minor in a foreign country.

Federal law prohibits a citizen or resident of the United States to travel to a foreign country with the intent to engage in any form of sexual conduct with someone under the age of 18. The law is designed to combat human trafficking, in this case referred to as "child sex tourism." It carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.

The man is indefinitely suspended from his TSA position and will be terminated, according to officials. He is accused of having traveled to the Dominican Republic in January, where he allegedly participated in sexual activities with two 15-year-old girls. The criminal complaint alleges that he used the help of another man to entice the teens into a van, where he had sex with them several times.

Additionally, he is accused of participating with two other men in sexually assaulting one of the girls. Ironically, he was purportedly arrested on the airport tarmac while attempting to board a flight back to the Dominican Republic. Federal Homeland Security officials declared that the activity of individuals traveling to foreign countries to take advantage of children has reached "epidemic proportions."

According to authorities, the accused admitted to having sex with the girls but contended that he thought they were older. Authorities also claim that he admitted to using the help of a local individual in the Dominican Republic to find girls for sex. They say that he admitted to doing this about 45 times.

The man's statements -- apparently made without the benefit of legal counsel -- will not help in presenting a criminal defense to the alleged sex offenses. Defense counsel will determine whether they were made voluntarily and whether the accused actually waived his right to counsel. Additionally, the complaint will be thoroughly examined to determine to what extent the charges may be based on incorrect, inaccurate or exaggerated allegations. The federal prosecution will proceed in New York, where the defendant is entitled to the same protections that are guaranteed to all others accused of a crime in our country.

Source: abclocal.go.com, "TSA Supervisor accused of having sex with minors; Arrested at JFK Airport", , May 9, 2014

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