Newark airport customs officers arrested

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In May, the victims had alleged that several armed Newark airport Customs and Border Protection officers throw their fellow agents on a so called "rape table" which is actually a conference table, the victims had alleged that US customs officers grabbed them under their arms that were completely against their will. It was unclear if they had lawyers.

According to the I-Team's earlier report on the hazing incidents, Officers Catota, Perez and Papagni stand accused of abusing certain PERT employees, and threatening to place them on an office table - which they dubbed the "rape table" - where they would be made to endure simulated sex acts. The allegations surfaced after an investigation by WNBC in NY.

Parmenio Perez, 40, of Paterson; Tito Catota, 38, of Newark; and Michael Papagni, 32, of West Orange were charged with forcibly assaulting, impeding, interfering and intimidating two men who were identified in the complaint as "Victim One" and "Victim Two", Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

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In addition to being employed as CBP officers, the three were part of the Passenger Enforcement Rover Team (PERT), authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the first victim was assigned to the unit in October 2016, and within the first two weeks Papagni told him the PERT office table was known as the "rape table".

"The defendants, who were members of a unit responsible for identifying risky contraband and threats to national security, allegedly subjected their own colleagues to senseless physical abuse, all while on duty at Newark Liberty International Airport", Fitzpatrick said in a statement. At some point during that encounter, the complaint alleges, Papagni and two other officers threw victim one on a table, carrying out a physical and sexual assault. Two of the defendants allegedly held the victim down while a third "moved his genitals up and down on Victim Two's left in simulation of a sex act", prosecutors say. Papagni then cleared "what this team is about". The victim unsuccessfully attempted to push Perez off his body but was eventually released. "The hard-working men and women who protect our borders deserve better". WNBC reported the PERT team was disbanded in May after its report and 11 officers were suspended pending the outcome of the federal investigation. A spokesperson for Customs and Border protection said the agency was taking action over the situation.

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