A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent pleaded no contest Friday to falsely imprisoning a woman who was going through Los Angeles International Airport.
Johnathon Lomeli — who was arrested and charged for unlawfully detaining a woman and using fraud or deceit to get her to expose herself to him outside of the primary security screening area at LAX in June 2019 — was immediately sentenced to 60 days in county jail, 52 classes to address sexual compulsion and two years probation following his plea, according to the California Attorney General’s Office.
In a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, Carlos Llamas with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force wrote that Lomeli told the woman — who had lost her identification and debit cards while traveling in Los Angeles – – that she had to go to another room to answer additional questions and go through an additional search after she was patted down by a female TSA officer on June 4, 2019.
Lomeli told the woman that she had to show him her breasts to make sure she had nothing in her bra, and the woman subsequently complied with his instruction to lift her pants and underwear, according to the declaration.
The declaration alleged that Lomeli subsequently made a comment to the woman about having nice breasts.
“We all have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in all places. And no one is entitled to use a position of power to violate those rights,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Why can’t some men absorb that simple truth? This is 2021, not 1921. Today, Johnathon Lomeli learned this the hard way.”
Lomeli, now 23, will no longer to be allowed to work as a security guard, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The case was filed last February as part of a joint effort involving the California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Air Marshals Service, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Airport Police and the TSA.
In a statement issued after Lomeli’s arrest last year, the TSA said, “TSA does not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct. The behavior described in the state charging documents is unacceptable and an affront to the hard-working and committed members of our workforce. The individual charged with these crimes is no longer with the agency and we pledge to fully cooperate with the ongoing law enforcement investigation into this matter.”
The suspect was released on bond following his arrest by Los Angeles police last year.