Customs Agents Accused of Ritualized Sexual Assault on 'Rape Table' at Airport

Three Newark Airport employees say that assailants play the "Jackass" theme song during assaults, and that the abuse has been happening for years.

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May 10 2017, 6:05pm

Photo by Chris Hondros / Staff via Getty Images

Three current Customs and Border Protection Agency employees have come forward with allegations of extreme hazing against some of their colleagues at Newark Airport: "They're monsters," officer Dan Arencibia told NBC. According to officers Arencibia, Diana Cifuentes, and Vito Degironimo, the assailants would ritualize the abuse, playing "Party Boy" from the television series "Jackass" while sexually assaulting their victims on a conference table they referred to as the "rape table."

Degironimo described the aggressive hazing ritual, in which officers would rub their genitals on victims while clothed, as "complete assault": "They take you in a room, and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you," he told NBC. "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."

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Officers reportedly targeted Diana Cifuentes as well. Though she was never subjected to the "rape table," she says she was intimidated and taunted by a fellow officer. "He said, 'You deserve to be put on the rape table,' and that's when he started chasing after me," she said. The harassment escalated; at one point, she added, an officer drew his gun on her.

They're monsters.

Arenciaba, Cifuentes, and Degironimo all said they thought coming forward was futile, as the assailants were "well connected" in the department. "Our immediate supervisors are best friends with these officers," Arencibia claimed. Though Degironimo filed a formal complaint with his superiors, they allegedly responded insufficiently: "The repercussion was that they removed the table," he said. "There was no punishment for the officers involved."

Their attorney, Patrick Metz, called the actions "gang assault," adding that the sexual abuse and harassment had been going on for years, and that it was "common knowledge" among the employees at Newark.

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A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection told Broadly that "an investigation of the hazing allegations is ongoing," led by the DHS Office of Inspector General with assistance from the CPB Office of Personal Responsibility. "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," they said in a statement.

"Our careers, I feel, are ruined by this," Arencibia said. The targeted officers at Newark Airpot's Customs and Border Protection Agency are now trying to move on with their lives, but still feel haunted by what happened. "I do nothing but cry," Cifuentes told NBC.