Yukari Miyamae, who is accused of grabbing a Transportation Security Administration officer’s breast during an altercation at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport on July 14, has posted her version of what happened.
Maricopa County prosecutors said last week that the facts of the case didn’t rise to the level of a felony, and the case against the 61-year-old Longmont, Colo. resident has gone to Phoenix prosecutors for possible misdemeanor charges.
Her friends have created a “Yukari Miyamae Legal Defense Fund” page on Facebook. One of them, Davide Andrea, wrote that Miyamae is a Japanese-English translator who translated Greg Mitchell’s book “The Age of WikiLeaks” into Japanese and traveled to London and Reykjavik to interview Julian Assange. She is also a radio DJ at KGNU.
Although Miyamae lives in Colorado, she has a translation job in Arizona, Andrea explained. “She commutes every week, so she goes through the TSA inspection twice a week.”
Miyamae posted on her Reddit account Saturday, “Since the incident on July 14, I have been deprived of sleep, sometimes for up to 36 hours. I have been devastated and exhausted from this horrible incident.”
She also posted a snapshot of herself, saying, “This is how I really look.” Until now, only her booking photo has been seen on news sites and Facebook pages from “Convict Yukari Miyamae” to “Yukari Miyamae for President.”
Her lawyer, Judd Golden, has released the following statement:
“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.”
This account contradicts an arrest report that said Miyamae grabbed the officer’s breast with both hands, squeezed it and twisted it. In declining to treat the case as a felony, county prosecutors said there was no sexual motivation element and that the agent could not be considered a law enforcement officer.