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U.S. air marshal relieved of duties after arrest for upskirt photos

(Reuters) - A federal air marshal was relieved of his duties and will be suspended or fired after he used his cell phone to take photographs underneath the skirts of female passengers as they boarded an aircraft, federal authorities said Friday.

Adam Bartsch, 28, who admitted he took the photographs on board a plane at a Nashville airport, was charged with disorderly conduct Thursday, according to an arrest affidavit signed by a judge for Davidson County in Nashville, Tennessee. Bond was set at $10,000 and he was released.

Bartsch was on duty as a federal air marshal at the time.

A witness grabbed the cell phone from Bartsch and alerted a flight attendant that he was taking photographs "beneath the dresses and or skirts of female passengers," the affidavit said.

Bartsch could not be reached for comment.

Officials with the Federal Air Marshal Program, which is overseen by the Transportation Safety Administration, said in a written statement Friday that the agency had relieved Bartsch of his duties.

"TSA does not tolerate criminal behavior," the statement said. "The agency immediately removed this individual from his current duties and is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment. TSA continues to assist with the investigation."

Airport police were notified and Bartsch was removed from the Southwest Airlines flight to Tampa, Florida, from Nashville International Airport. He was turned over to Nashville police, the affidavit said.

Bartsch's next court appearance was set for November 14, according to electronic records.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Greg McCune and Bernadette Baum)

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