The Transport and Security Association (TSA) has come under fire due to a recent incident involving pat-downs as part of its airport security protocol. An Oceanside man recorded a confrontation he had with a federal TSA worker at Lindbergh Field Airport over TSA’s newly enhanced pat-down searches it began implementing at airport security checkpoints.
John Tyner, a 33-year-old computer programmer, opted out of an invasive full-body scan which then subjected him to the alternative – a full-body pat-down by TSA officers. This pat-down procedure included a groin-check to which Tyner responded with the now-famous: “Don’t touch my junk!”
With the introduction of full-body scanners at airports to replace metal detectors, there has been a growing public outcry concerning personal privacy. For the sake of increased security, airport patrons will now have a choice between subjecting to an invasive full-body scan or an equally invasive pat-down search.
Although Tyner’s ordeal has come to symbolize the nation’s anti-advanced screening sentiment, it is also an incident that lends itself to potentially rampant sexual assault charges. Since Tyner’s video of his experience went viral on the internet, other air travelers have come forward with allegations of groping and sexual assault at the hands of TSA officers.
Reports include incidents of women having their breasts groped in public during a pat-down search, men having their groins examined, and children begging TSA officers to stop as they undergo an “enhanced pat-down” search. Regardless of whether this actually constitutes sexual assault or merely a badly implemented government policy, sexual assault is still a matter to consider in the situation.
Sexual assault, more specifically referred to as sexual battery, is charged when a person is accused of inappropriately touching an intimate body-part of another, without consent, and for the purpose of achieving sexual arousal or gratification.
As a “wobbler” offense, sexual assault may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case. As a misdemeanor offense, sexual assault may lead to imprisonment in county jail for up to six months and/or a maximum fine of $2,000. A felony conviction may result in a two, three, or four-year sentence in state prison with the possibility of a $10,000 maximum fine.
In either case, any sexual assault conviction may also incur a mandatory obligation to register as a sex offender for as long as you live, work, or attend school in California (P.C. 290).
Sexual assault or battery is a sex crime that can have lifelong repercussions. If you find yourself facing such charges, it is best to seek the legal assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling sex crimes and will work diligently to help you fight the charges levied against you. Call us today at (877) 466-5245