LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas grandmother is suing the Transportation Security Administration after they made her strip down before a flight back to Vegas.
According to the complaint, Rhonda Mengert was traveling through Tulsa International Airport on Mother's Day when an implant in her hip set off the metal detector.
She agreed to be pat down by a TSA agent.
During the pat down, the agent discovered a "common feminine hygiene product" that she was wearing underneath her clothes.
That's when she claims TSA agents took her to a private room and asked her to strip down and expose her genitals.
"I was told I needed to pull my pants and my underwear down to my knees and remove the item and show it to them for inspection," Mengert said, "it was horrific. It was horrible. It was degrading."
They then instructed her to remove the feminine hygiene product, the complaint says.
Mengert says she is suffering severe emotional distress and says the search violated her rights.
13 Action News reached out to the TSA and they gave us the following statement.
"Due to pending litigation, we cannot comment on the specifics of this case. 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.
- Pat-down procedures are used to determine whether prohibited items or other threats to transportation security are concealed on the person. Travelers may be required to undergo a pat-down procedure if the screening technology alarms, as part of unpredictable security measures, for enhanced screening, or as an alternative to other types of screening, such as advanced imaging technology screening.
- Travelers may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down. The officer will advise of the procedure to help anticipate any actions. Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection, and areas may undergo a pat-down more than once for the TSA officer to confirm no threat items are detected.
- Pat-downs are conducted by an officer of the same gender. At any time during the process, passengers may request private screening accompanied by a companion of their choice. A second officer of the same gender will always be present during private screening."
The TSA also sent a link to this video.