TSA Supervisor accused of having sex with minors; Arrested at JFK Airport

Matt Kozar with the report from Downtown Brooklyn. (WABC)
May 9, 2014 3:22:33 PM PDT
A TSA Supervisor was arrested at Kennedy Airport accused of setting up a meeting in the Dominican Republic to engage in sexual activity with minors.

Vernon Lythcott was arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court.

A judge set bail at $250,000.

He works as a TSA screening supervisor.

He's being charged with elicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign country and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors allege Lythcott engaged in sex acts with two 15-year-old girls during a January trip to the Dominican Republic.

According to the criminal complaint, Lythcott used the help of a Dominican man to lure the teens from the beach into a van, promising them money and gifts.

He's accused of having sex with both girls several times.

At one point in a hotel, Lythcott and two other men forced one of the girls in a room where they all sexually assaulted her.

The victims say Lythcott paid them $80.

Friday morning at JFK, federal agents arrested Lythcott who works as a TSA supervisor.

He was on the jetway trying to board a flight back to the Dominican Republic.

Law enforcement sources tell Eyewitness News Lythcott's arrest is part of a larger crackdown on child exploitation.

"I think the lesson people take out of this is the exploitation of children, where it is people trying to get children to pose in sexually explicit photos or traveling for the purpose of exploiting children overseas head reached epidemic proportions in this country," said James Hayes, Special Agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.

Agents say they found pictures of the victims on Lythcott's cell phone.

He admitted to investigators he had sex with the girls but claims he thought they were older.

He also admitted to traveling to the Dominican Republic numerous times using the help of a local to find girls to have sex with.

He says this happened 45 times but claims all the girls were older than 18.

The TSA released the following statement:
"The agency is currently in the process of terminating his employment. At this time, he is on indefinite suspension. "TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism. These alleged crimes are egregious and intolerable."

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