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Passenger Groped TSA Agent Arrested: Sexual Abuse

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on July 19, 2011 6:50 AM

A TSA agent groped a passenger, and is now facing a lawsuit. Wait, scratch that: a passenger groped a TSA agent, and is now facing a felony sexual abuse charge. Yukari Mihamae, 61, was arrested after her tiff with a TSA agent at the Phoenix airport.

Mihamae was traveling from Phoenix back to her home state of Colorado when she got into an argument with TSA officers, reports Time.

At the end of the argument, Mihamae grabbed the left breast of a female TSA agent with both her hands. She squeezed and twisted the breast without the TSA agent's permission, Time reports.

Mihamae was arrested after the incident, but she is gaining some popular support via Facebook.

The "Acquit Yukari Mihamae" Facebook group now has more than 900 members, with members even calling to set up a defense fund.

Many who oppose the TSA's enhanced screening processes, such as body scanning and invasive pat-downs, seem to be applauding Mihamae for standing up to the TSA, Time reports.

Generally, sexual assault statutes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But, sexual assault is usually considered any crime where the victim is touched, sexually, in a way that is offensive or unwanted. Attempted rape can be a sexual assault, but assault or battery can be sexual assault as well.

Mihamae's actions are most likely considered to be a battery, which is an unwanted or offensive touching. And, it's probably considered a sexual assault because by nature, grabbing someone by their breast is fairly sexual. There is no indication that the TSA agent either consented to or allowed Mihamae to touch her breast in that way.

Yukari Mihamae was released from jail earlier last week. And, even though she's a passenger who groped a TSA agent, she will still be allowed to fly. A preliminary hearing in her case is set for early August.

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