Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Customs and Border Protection officers at Newark Airport accuse superiors of extreme hazing; 'This is terrorizing'
Customs officers at Newark Airport say they are hazing victims
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency officers allege they are the victims of extreme hazing, including sexual abuse by their superiors at Newark Airport.
Customs and border protection officers at Newark Airport have accused their superiors of extreme hazing and regular sexual abuse, including the duct-taping of victims to what they call a “rape table.”
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the allegations, NBC 4 New York reported.
Multiple officers said they fear for their safety and allege that regular assault — by members of their own agency — is part of the job.
“I’m afraid for my life, my safety,” CBP officer Diana Cifuentes told NBC 4 New York.
Officer Vito Degironimo also came forward. “Hazing wouldn’t do this justice. This is complete assault. They take you in a room and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you,” he told NBC 4.
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating allegations of regular sexual assault, including the duct-taping of victims to what they call a "rape table."
The abuse takes place in a Terminal C room with a conference table that doubles as a "rape table," Degironimo said.
“Once the lights go out, they grab you up like a gang, and they forcibly throw you on the table and one officer ended up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse,” he told NBC 4.
Cifuentes recalls being in a similar situation. She said she escaped the “rape table” only to be taped to a chair by a weapon-wielding officer.
“I was very afraid for my life...I know that if I reacted either he was going to pull the trigger or I was going to draw the weapon myself and shoot him,” she told NBC 4.
Officers said they were initially too intimated to report the abuse to their bosses. "People are too scared to go anywhere because these guys are well connected," Degironimo, one of the victims, said.
Degironimo described being too intimated to complain about the abuse. “People are too scared to go anywhere because these guys are well connected,” he said. “Our immediate supervisors are best friends with these officers,” he said.
The investigation into the hazing allegations is ongoing.
CBP insists it doesn’t tolerate abuse within its agency. “We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we cooperate fully with all criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, whether it occurs on or off duty,” it said.