Three Customs and Border Protection officers figuring out of Newark Liberty International Airport have been arrested following an investigation right into a sequence of hazing incidents that occurred of their Terminal C workplaces.
Tito Catota, Parmenio Perez and Michael Papagni have been charged with “forcibly assaulting, impeding, intimidating and interfering with” two of their new male co-workers on the Passenger Enforcement Rover Team (PERT), reports Channel 4 I-Team.
According to the I-Team’s earlier report on the hazing incidents, Officers Catota, Perez and Papagni stand accused of abusing sure PERT staff, and threatening to position them on an workplace desk — which they dubbed the “rape table” — the place they might be made to endure simulated intercourse acts.
“The defendants, who have been members of a unit accountable for figuring out harmful contraband and threats to nationwide safety, allegedly subjected their very own colleagues to mindless bodily abuse, all whereas on obligation at Newark Liberty International Airport,” mentioned US Attorney William Fitzpatrick in a statement posted to the Department of Justice’s web site on Wednesday.
“This habits can be abhorrent in any setting, particularly one serving a important regulation enforcement perform. The arduous working women and men who shield our borders deserve higher.”
The first sufferer initially started working with PERT in October 2016, and claims that he was threatened with the “rape table” lower than two weeks into his tenure. Later, in January, the sufferer says he and a colleague have been working to retrieve and ahead a doc when Papagni advised him to rush up lest Papagni train him “what this team is about.” Soon, the sufferer says the lights within the workplace went out, and Papagni, Catota and one other CBP officer held him down whereas Perez sat atop him and grinded towards his genitals by way of his clothes. The sufferer was unable to push Perez off him, however finally obtained free when the CBP officers backed off and let him depart.
A second sufferer claims he went to the PERT workplace in Terminal C to talk with CBP officers in November 2016 when certainly one of them locked the door behind him. Catota, Papani and Perez then held him down on the workplace desk whereas one moved his genitals up and down the sufferer’s leg. He too was unable to depart till the three officers let him up.
The Department of Homeland Security started investigating earlier this yr after the victims initially issued their complaints, although the PERT division wasn’t formally disbanded till May. In complete, 11 CBP officers had been suspended in reference to the incidents, I-Team studies.
News 4 additionally studies that different CBP officers reported related incidents after the preliminary complaints have been printed, together with Vito Degironimo, who claimed that his fellow officers “ended up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse.”
“I’m grabbed by different officers towards my will,” he added. “I do not understand how far more felony you may get.”
If responsible, Catota, Perez and Papagni face a minimal potential penalty of eight years in jail and $250,000 in fines for every incident, in response to the Department of Justice.