Yukari Miyamae: Felony charge dropped against woman accused of grabbing TSA agent's breast
Update: Judd Golden, attorney for Yukari Miyamae, accused of grabbing and twisting a TSA agent's breast at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport, reveals that felony sex abuse charges against her have been dropped.
But that doesn't mean Miyamae is entirely off the hook.
In a release on view below, Golden points out that Miyamae, who's just five feet tall, may still face a misdemeanor count related to the incident, which he says stemmed from her asking not to go through a full-body scanner out of concern for radiation exposure; she's a frequent business traveler.
According to Golden's account, TSA agents denied this request and surrounded her in a way that made her feel as if her personal space was being violated. Hence, he maintains that she "pushed" the TSA agent away -- presumably without corkscrewing her breast, as has been reported.
Read the entire release below, followed by our earlier post about the Yukari Miyamae Legal Defense Fund Facebook page:
Felony sexual assault charges dropped in TSA incident against Colorado woman Yukari Miyamae
No felony charges will be brought against Yukari Miyamae, the woman accused of sexually assaulting a TSA agent at the Phoenix airport on July 14, the Maricopa County Attorney's office decided on Tuesday, and confirmed today.
The case is not over. Ms. Miyamae still may face misdemeanor charges, as it has been turned over to the Phoenix City prosecutor. Additional criminal or civil charges could be filed.
Ms. Miyamae, a self-employed translator, author and radio producer from Longmont, Colo., has never been arrested or charged with a crime and strongly denies any wrongdoing in the incident. She says that she was violated, endangered and threatened by the conduct of TSA agents as she went through security last Thursday afternoon to board a flight from Phoenix to Denver.
Ms. Miyamae says she told TSA agents she wanted to be screened by the metal detector gate. She did so out of concern for excessive radiation exposure from the full-body scanners, as she is a frequent business traveler.
Her request was denied. She was soon surrounded by TSA agents. One TSA agent, a tall woman, approached Ms. Miyamae, who is only five feet tall.
Ms. Miyamae felt panicked and experienced a volatile aversion to the TSA personnel violating her personal physical space. She felt endangered and threatened based upon prior traumatizing security pat-downs, repugnance at the prospect of being touched again in such a violent and undignified manner, and instinctively pushed the female TSA agent away.
Ms. Miyamae remains traumatized by this incident and her subsequent arrest, jailing, and the false accusation of being a sex criminal. She values her privacy, but is exploring opportunities to be able to tell her full story to the nation.
Ms. Miyamae is thankful to the thousands who have expressed sympathy and support for her on several Facebook pages, many of whom have also felt violated and threatened by the TSA screening process.
Those who wish to donate to help with her legal expenses and other costs can do so at a Facebook page that has been established by some of her Colorado friends, Yukari Miyamae Legal Defense Fund.
Original item, 7:10 a.m. July 19: The story of Longmont's Yukari Miyamae, accused of grabbing and twisting a TSA agent's breast at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport, has struck a chord with plenty of people upset by security procedures prior to flights. A newly created Yukari Miyamae Legal Defense Fund Facebook page may not be hugely popular yet (197 likes at this writing), but it's already become a repository for anti-TSA gripes.
The Facebook page links to CauseWay LLC, which spells out the goals of the defense fund:
Yukari Miyamae was arrested July 15 '11 while going through security at the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix Arizona.
As reported by the press, Yukari Miyamae's arrest report states that she grabbed TSA agent Barbara O'Toole's "left breast through her clothing -- squeezing and twisting it with both hands without the victim's permission,".
Yukari denies the charges: "Police statement and Fox coverage does not depict accurately what happened to me on July 14th at Phoenix Airport in Maricopa county, Arizona."
Trial lawyer Judd Golden has agreed to represent Yukari Miyamae.
We are two friends of Yukari, and we are setting up this page to help clear our friend's name. Numerous friends and supporters of Yukari have requested a way to donate to Yukari's legal expenses. This web site will serve as that vehicle. A local bank account is being set up for Yukari's legal defense fund. Once established we will provide an on-line, secure link for anyone to donate any amount to her cause. These are very serious charges, however we feel with the proper legal defense she will be completely cleared of any wrong doing.
It is important to know some things about Yukari as a person. We have known her for many years, she is like part of our family, and we feel compelled to shed light on her character. She is a hard working career woman as a professional translator of Japanese/English documents. Her current job is in Phoenix AZ where she has been commuting from Denver for the past several weeks, flying twice weekly. At home in her spare time she stays closely attuned to both local and global current affairs, volunteers for independent community radio hosting music and news programming, is a dedicated defender of human rights and is well known in town as a pretty nice person. She is someone we are proud to have as our friend. Personally we feel that these charges are a terrible mistake, completely beyond her character, and will be dropped when the facts are brought to a fair trail. We want to help make that happen and hope you will too.
Ann Colcord, Davide Andrea
As for aforementioned Facebook page (supplemented by an open Facebook group page dubbed Free Yukari), the wall is currently hung with plenty of TSA horror stories. Examples:
Good for you Yukari! They "patted" down my 6 week old baby girl! I wonder if she would have been arrested if she threw up on them???
Good for you. I was sexually molested by an TSA agent. Tried to report it to thier supervisor then the police no one would help me. I hope you can do something to stop what is going on in Phoenix.
Yukari, you're a hero. If what you did was sexual assault, how in hell does our own government justify their own molestation of little kids and the elderly wearing Depends diapers while guys in turbans and armed with explosives walk right past? I wonder how many little girls lost their virginity to a TSA worker. It is filth. It is absolutely unconstitutional, it's costly, it's time consuming and it only serves to anger already frustrated fliers. And it has made no difference whatsoever in the numbers of dangerous devices getting through.. 12,000 breaches of security since 9/11. That's the ones they caught. An Iranian man actually turned himself in after realizing he had carried a loaded 45 Magnum all the way to his destination and to his hotel room.
Also included -- videos like this one:
We've submitted an interview request to attorney Judd Golden. When and if we receive a response, we'll update this post.
More from our News archive: "Gary Fielder: Read TSA lawsuit, see CO lawyer refuse body scanning and pat-down (VIDEO)."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.