After watching his mother receive an enhanced pat down by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer, a 17-year-old boy was allegedly told that he would not be receiving similar treatment because he didn’t “have boobs.”
Adrienne Durso, a resident of California, was selected for an enhanced pat-down after walking through a metal detector at Albuquerque International Sunport airport, according to a lawsuit.
Durso, a recent breast cancer survivor, said the TSA security officer forcefully searched the area of her recent mastectomy, leaving her in pain and on the verge of crying.
In November, a TSA agent reportedly forced another breast cancer survivor to show her prosthetic breast.
Durso’s 17-year-old son stood watching as she experienced the pat down.
When her son confronted a security supervisor about the incident, asking why his mother had been selected for a pat-down but not him, the supervisor allegedly replied that the son was not selected because “you don’t have boobs.”
After her experience, Durso joined three other plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA administrator John Pistole.
One of the other plaintiffs allegedly received “an invasive and aggressive pat-down of his genitals, presumably due to the fact” that he has an enlarged testicle from an injury he experienced.
The other two plaintiffs, a mother and her daughter, claim that while at a security checkpoint TSA agents pulled aside the 12-year-old girl and subjected her to a body scan without the consent of her legal guardians.
“Under the newly implemented enhanced pat-down, a TSA officer sliders his or her hands over an individual’s breasts, buttocks, groin, and inner thighs, and inserts his or her fingers inside the entire circumference of the pant’s waistband,” the lawsuit states. “Although it is well established that subjecting airline passengers to limited searches designed to detect weapons and explosives is consistent with the Fourth Amendment, it is equally well established that such searches must be reasonable.”
The lawsuit claims the body scanners and enhanced pat downs employed at airport security checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment because it forces travelers to choose between “a visual strip search” or suffering “the indignity of allowing an unknown officer to literally place his or her hands in your pants.”
The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it received over 900 complaints from travelers in November who were subjected to the new screening procedures of the TSA.