A grandmother from Las Vegas has sued the Transportation Safety Administration, accusing agents of forcing her to expose her genitals last month during a strip-search for the purpose of inspecting a feminine hygiene product she was using.
What are the details?
The alleged incident occurred at Tulsa International Airport on Mother’s Day after frequent flyer Rhonda Mengert — who holds a TSA Pre-Check designation under the agency’s trusted traveler program — informed security that she has a metal implant in her hip, and agreed to a pat-down after passing through a body scanner.
According to the
complaint, the screener discovered Mengert was wearing a “common feminine hygiene product” underneath her clothes and informed her that she would need to submit to an additional search in order for her to be “cleared” for travel.
Mengert was escorted to a private room by two TSA agents who accompanied her and closed the door behind them. Once inside, the screeners reportedly instructed the traveler to pull “down her pants and underwear down to her knees and remove the feminine hygiene product for their visual inspection.”
Despite initially objecting, Mengert complied. She told
KTNV-TV of the incident, “It was horrific. It was horrible. It was degrading.”
The Las Vegas resident told
KLAS-TV, “I was accosted. I had no personal ability to protect myself against them; they took it away,” adding, “It’s gone too far. It’s overreach. It’s too much.”
The lawsuit claims Mengert travels frequently for her job and continues to experience trauma over the incident. Mengert is seeking damages over what she says was a humiliating experience that violated her constitutional rights, and she doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else. Mengert and her attorneys are seeking a jury trial.
Las Vegas woman files lawsuit against TSA; she says she was strip-searched
How did the TSA respond?
TSA told KTNV it could not comment on the case specifically because of the pending litigation, but issued a statement insisting the agency “does not conduct strip searches and is committed to ensuring the safety of travelers.”