HILL AIR FORCE BASE — A Hill Air Force Base employee is facing federal charges accusing him of groping three separate women at one of the base's fitness centers.

James M. Busby is facing three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery stemming from events on or around Nov. 8. 2011, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday. Each count states that Busby "did intentionally touch the breast" of three different women at the Warrior Fitness Center.

The charges refer to two recorded complaints of Busby "making sexually inappropriate acts towards patrons and staff members" on Nov. 9.

No additional details were provided. The case has been assigned to a federal magistrate judge, but a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Busby is a technical sergeant in the 419th Fighter Wing. "The alleged incidents occurred while Mr. Busby was acting in his civilian capacity and not his military capacity," said Hill spokesman Richard Essary. "The Air Force takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously."

Busby did not answer calls placed to his home on the base.

This is the second accusation of sexual misconduct at one of the base's fitness centers in recent years. Douglas J. Hammond, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and former Syracuse city councilman, was convicted of sexual battery stemming from an incident in a steam room at the Hess Fitness Center on Dec. 10, 2009.

If convicted, Busby faces a sentence of up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine on each count.

Emiley Morgan Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam