A lawsuit was recently filed against the TSA after a Las Vegas woman was allegedly subjected to a strip search.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently found itself at the center of a lawsuit filed by a woman in Las Vegas over allegations that she was forced to undergo a “humiliating and traumatizing strip search at Tulsa International Airport.” According to the lawsuit, she was allegedly ordered to “take down her pants and underwear down to her knees in a private room.”
The alleged incident occurred on Mother’s Day. Rhonda Mengert was at the airport saying good-bye to her family and preparing to board her flight back to Las Vegas. However, as she was preparing to board, things took a nasty turn when she “informed a male TSA staffer of the metal implant in her hip and requested a body scan in lieu of passing through a metal detector, which could trigger a false alarm.” Mengert is familiar with the screening process and even holds TSA PreCheck clearance due to her frequent work trips.
However, after the body scan, she was told she would “have to undergo a pat-down, which she agreed to.” From there, a female screener conducted the pat down and found a panty liner while checking her groin area. Her screening wasn’t done, yet, though. After the pat down, the suit claims Mengert was “instructed to follow two female TSA agents into a private room to be cleared.” Once inside the private room, Mengert was informed by the screeners that they “had to clear the area.”
Confused, Mengert asked what that meant. In response, “the security officials reportedly told Mengert she had to take down her pants and underwear down to her knees and remove the feminine hygiene product so they could visually inspect it,” according to the suit.
Understandably, Mengert objected, though the two screeners told her she had no choice in the matter. In the end, Mengert complied and did as she was told, exposing “her genitals and underwear to the officials before being allowed to go on her way.” As a result of her ordeal, Mengert’s suit claims she suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress and she is “still bewildered by what transpired.”
“These people are responsible for violating my sense of self-worth. I wouldn’t wish the emotional distraught this has caused me on my worst enemy.”
Jonathan Corbett, Mengert’s attorney, agrees that she was violated and said the “TSA has some major explaining to do, as the agency publically states that they do not include strip searches in their security protocols.” He added that he and Mengert are seeking injunctive and monetary relief.
How has the TSA responded to the allegations? Well, so far a spokesperson for the organization issued the following statement:
“TSA does not conduct strip searches and is committed to ensuring the security of travelers while treating passengers of all ages with dignity and respect.”