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California district attorney warns against inappropriate pat-downs

By Abdul Nisar

Washington, Nov 18 (ANI): A California district attorney has vowed to prosecute airport security screeners who touch travellers inappropriately, following the public outcry over the government's new pat-down policy.

Steve Wagstaffe, the incoming district attorney in San Mateo County, said that he would charge screeners with sexual battery for complaints of inappropriate touching with sexual or lewd intent.

But if the complaint is simply that a TSA screener went too far with a pat down, then it would not be considered a crime.

"It becomes a crime when someone does that touching, reaches under the blouse and fondles breasts," Fox News quoted him as saying.

"That's a crime under California law," he stated.

If convicted of a misdemeanour, TSA screeners would face up to one year in the county jail; for a felony, which would involve skin-on-skin contact, they would face up to three years in state prison.

Wagstaffe said he has not received a complaint yet and he believes all the attention on airport screening will cause TSA to be more careful.

The head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, acknowledged that the new pat-downs are more invasive than what travellers were used to in the past.

The "enhanced" pat-downs of airline passengers who opt out of using the high-tech body scanners require screeners to touch travellers' breasts or genitals. (ANI)

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