Customs Officers Arrested After Sexually Assaulting Coworkers At Airport
Three Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers were arrested Wednesday for allegedly forcing two colleagues to engage sexual acts during work at the Newark Liberty Airport.
Officers Tito Catota, 38, Parmenio I. Perez, 40, and Michael A. Papagni, 32, allegedly strong armed two male colleagues into hazing rituals, and are charged with forcibly assaulting, intimidating, and interfering with their coworkers, reports Shore News Network.
Authorities believe that the alleged attacks involved both physical and sexual abuse, as the CBP officers would assault their coworkers on a so-called “rape table” inside the airport. In one instance, the officers allegedly held down a victim on the table while Perez placed his genitals up and down the victim’s body. The three men also reportedly held down another victim and rubbed up and down his legs, according to NJ.com. These simulated sex acts attacks allegedly began in October 2016, abc7 reported.
The alleged assaults first came to light when NBC New York led a report on an investigative team report exposing hazing allegations at Newark Airport. The victims said that they were too intimidated to formally complain to authorities due to fear of retaliation before the bombshell report.
“The defendants, who were members of a unit responsible for identifying dangerous contraband and threats to national security, allegedly subjected their own colleagues to senseless physical abuse, all while on duty at Newark Liberty International Airport,” said acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick.
If the three defendants are found guilty, they will face up to eight years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
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