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LAX Cop Sexually Assaulted Passenger Waiting To Board Plane

LAX (Photo by Marc Evans via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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A former police officer for LAX was sentenced today to four years in prison for sexually assaulting a passenger while he was on duty at the airport.

Michael Wayne Staunton, 56, was convicted of sexual battery by restraint, assault by a peace officer and false imprisonment by fraud by a jury this November. Today he was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The sexual assault took place in April 2011. A then-25-year-old woman was sitting on a bench with a friend, waiting to board her plane. Staunton was on duty at his station in Terminal 1 just inside the security screening area. He came up to the woman and made some sort of sexual comment.

He returned later and motioned for the woman to come with him. District Attorney Jane Robison told LAist, "She thought maybe they were in trouble."

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Staunton led the woman to a storage area that required a security access card. He then proceeded to sexually assault her. He walked her back to the departure area where the woman met up with her friends. She told them what happened, and they immediately reported the assault to the LAPD, which investigated the case (the airport police and LAPD are separate agencies).

Los Angeles World Airports police told LAist they were not commenting on the case. Staunton is no longer with the agency.