BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The Longmont woman who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly groping a TSA agent at an airport in Phoenix says she was simply preserving her personal space.

Yukari Miyamae, 61, broke her silence about the incident at Sky Harbor International Airport in a radio interview in Boulder on Wednesday.

County prosecutors in Arizona recently dropped felony charges against Miyamae, stating the facts don’t rise to the level of a felony. Miyamae could still be charged with a misdemeanor.

“I feel I’m targeted,” Miyamae said on Wednesday on KGNU, Boulder’s community radio station. Miyamae works as a volunteer at the station.

“I didn’t mean to do any harm,” she said.

Listen to excerpts of the radio interview below.

Miyamae said she regularly commutes to Arizona, where she works as a translator. She says she has repeatedly been subjected to uncomfortable security patdowns by Transporation Security Administration agents.

She says she was trying to avoid another patdown at the Phoenix airport on July 14 when she asked agents if she could go through a metal detector instead.

“They said ‘You have no choice, you have no choice,'” said Miyamae. “The whole message of ‘I have no choice’ was triggering my panic.”

She said that at that point a female TSA officer stepped forward. Miyamae recalled extending her arm, her fingers contacting the woman’s breast.

“She said, ‘You touched me, you touched me. You cannot touch me,’ and I said, ‘You people always touch me and touch many people’ but she said, ‘I didn’t touch you, you touched me,'” said Miyamae.

“The police officer standing by on my left said to her, ‘Would you like to charge her for sexual assault?’ And the TSA woman hesitated and the police officer again suggested, ‘Would you like to charge her for sexual assault?’ And she said, ‘Yes’ and immediately I was arrested.”

In her radio interview, Miyamae talked about being abducted at age 7 and held captive for several hours. She said that experience keeps her on alert with what she calls a very strong sense of endangerment.

“I have a sense of boundary, I do not want a stranger that close to me,” said Miyamae.

Comments (7)
  1. Pat says:

    At first I thought she was crying “prejudice” but after reading further I realized she has a fear of people being too close to her and this does not sound like groping. I too thought about the many people that have literally groped other people, the TSA’s that do that in reality have made people on high alert to even be touched.

  2. happyday says:

    I don’t blame her and truly believe some TSA agents like to act all powerful over passengers. The TSA has NEVER caught a terrorist.

  3. Patricia Ramirez says:

    Arizona is a racist state. The woman is Asian. The woman is intelligent. This woman knows her so called “invisible” rights. I see the wanna-be TSA searchers to be on the hunt as practice on everyone. I felt that if it would have been a tall, blue-eyed, blond, with make-up, high-heels, the officers would have even carried her bags and the TSA woman would have had a smile on her face. RACISM. This is person who travels professionally through that airport,according to what I have read, not one of my cousin returning home to Mexico City. Now, that is another story.

  4. Zeke says:

    This lady was not in the wrong. TSA was and is. I’m not touchy feely either and a TSA agent touches me the wrong way, he/she will be looking up at the ceiling. I will claim sexual assault. There is nothing on my plane ticket saying that I am giving up my rights.

    If the government wants to stop terrorism, shut down Homeland Security immediately.

  5. JACK THOMSEN says:

    When I said just like the French I meant the French REVOLUTION….

    Assassinate the TSA….. if you know one …. do like the French did in pre revolutionary France.

    To this day…. France is free of the Catholic Church, the nobility, and LARGE corporations…. they rid themselves of these evils in 1789 — it took 4 years… but they did it

    Begin the REVOLT…if you know one… do it… or at least post their names and addresses so someone else can

  6. Wodehouse says:

    Jack, we don’t want a “French” revolution. You seem to know very little about it. Many innocent people murdered by mobs of ignorant peasants. And ever since then, France a second rate nation. And they are not without Catholics. Or do you think they should be rounded up. Tell you what, Jack. Why not sit on your gun barrel and let it rip.

  7. Rick says:

    People need to start filing charges at the airports against these $8.00 an hour idiots.

    They touch you or your kids inapproiately you call a police officer. If he refuses you ask for his superior if they refuse you call the state police.

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