Officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency at Newark Airport are alleging veteran officers have subjected them to brutal hazing rituals, which include duct-taping newcomers to a "rape table" and grinding their genitals on them.
NBC 4 New York reports that a federal investigation is underway at the airport, where at least three CBP officer have reported abuse. They say that as part of the hazing, veteran officers took them to a secure room in the airport's Terminal C and attacked them. "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," CBP officer Vito Degironimo told the outlet. "I’m grabbed by other officers against my will. I don’t know how much more criminal you can get."
Another officer, Diana Cifuentes, told NBC the hazing rituals were so frightening she feared for her life. "This is terrorizing. How is it that officers believe they’re free to do whatever they want to do?" Though Cifuentes says she was not subjected to the "rape table," she was assaulted in other ways. "There was a back and forth between another officer and myself," she said. "He said, 'You deserve to be put on the rape table.' And that’s when he started chasing me. … [Eventually] I was held down by another officer and one additional officer taped me with green customs tape to the chair."
Cifuentes alleges that an officer pulled his gun on her. "I was very afraid for my life," she said. "I took a deep breath and kept on typing like nothing was happening. 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."
A third officer, Dan Arencibia, says he was hazed with a song from the TV show Jackass in the background. "It’s called the 'Party Boy song.' It’s something they played in the past and it becomes their theme for the event," Arencibia said. "They’re monsters in a sense. They know that we can’t do anything about this." All three officers filed a formal complaint with the CBP, and have since retained an attorney to file a lawsuit.
The CBP said in a statement that they're investigating the allegations: "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."