BALTIMORE — A Baltimore-based air marshal was arrested on Thursday after allegedly taking cellphone pictures up women’s dresses as they boarded a Southwest Airlines flight in Nashville, the Transportation Security Administration confirmed Friday.
Adam Joseph Bartsch, 28, was arrested by Nashville International Airport police after a witness grabbed his cellphone and alerted a flight attendant, according to a criminal affidavit in the case.
He was on duty at the time of the incident. He has been charged with disorderly conduct and is due in court on Nov. 14, according to an affidavit.
Shannon Sumrall, a spokeswoman for the airport, said the incident occurred about 9:30 a.m. Central time.
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Southwest Flight 3132 was delayed as a result of the incident, according to the affidavit. Chris Mainz, a Southwest spokesman, confirmed crew “removed a passenger” from the flight, headed to Tampa, after a customer brought a concern to their attention.
“We turned the matter over to local law enforcement, and the passenger did not travel as scheduled,” Mainz said in an email.
The official task of air marshals is to “detect, deter, and defeat hostile acts targeting U.S. air carriers, airports, passengers, and crews,” according to the Federal Air Marshal Service.
Marshals “operate independently without backup” on flights, and are trained to “blend in with passengers” in order to “protect the flying public.”
Michael Pascarella, a Federal Air Marshal Service spokesman, said in a statement that “TSA does not tolerate criminal behavior” and took immediate action following Bartsch’s arrest.
“The agency immediately removed this individual from his current duties and is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment,” he said. “TSA continues to assist with the investigation.”