TSA – Sexual Assault

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I have an incident
to share that occurred late Friday afternoon, November 12, 2010,
around 5:15 in the Dayton International Airport.

I realize the
publishing this publicly on the internet puts me into a delicate
situation, given that I am a high profile blogger and author. This
is a difficult incident to share, but it needs to be said…Because
I will not be a silent victim. I will share the facts of the incident
in as a matter of fact manner as I can.

I checked into
my flight and had a boarding pass printed that included “plus
infant.” My baby and I were flying from Dayton, OH, to San
Antonio, TX, so I could run in the San Antonio Half Marathon. I
was taking my baby along because he is still breastfeeding for part
of the day.

I entered the
security line, removed the special formula that I had with me for
the baby, as well as my quart size baggie with my other liquids.
I went through the x-ray machine and metal detector, carrying the
baby, with no incident.

Because I was
traveling with baby formula, I knew to expect that they would test
it with the paper circles for explosives. The TSA agent took all
of my belongings over to the table in the center of the explosive
screening tables. She asked me, “Are you aware of the NEW policies
for carrying liquids through security that were instated 4 years
ago?” (capitalized to show the emphasis that she placed on
that word.)

I replied,
“Yes, I fly with him every several weeks.”

She scanned
the formula, then turned to me and said, “Remove your shoes
and stand on that black mat for a patdown.”

I said, “OK,
what do I do with the baby?”

“You cannot
be holding him.” (I am traveling alone.)

So I placed
him into his stroller. She instructed me, “Spread your feet
apart and hold your arms out to the side.” I obliged.

She patted
my left arm, my right arm, my upper back and my lower back. She
then said, “I need to reach in and feel along the inside of
your waistband.”

She felt along
my waistline, moved behind me, then proceeded to feel both of my
buttocks. She reached from behind in the middle of my buttocks towards
my vagina area.

She did
not tell me
that she was going to touch my buttocks, or reach
forward to my vagina area.

She then moved
in front of my and touched the top and underneath portions of both
of my breasts.

She did
not tell me
that she was going to touch my breasts.

She then felt
around my waist. She then moved to the bottoms of my legs.

She then felt
my inner thighs and my vagina area, touching both of my labia.

She did
not tell me
that she was going to touch my vagina area or my
labia.

She then told
me that I could put my shoes on and I asked if I could pick up the
baby, she replied Yes.

She then moved
back to my belongings to finish scanning them with the paper discs
for explosives. When she finished she said I was free to go.

I stood there
holding my baby in shock. I did not move for almost a minute.

I stood there,
an American citizen, a mom traveling with a baby with special needs
formula, sexually assaulted by a government official. I began shaking
and felt completely violated, abused and assaulted by the TSA agent.
I shook for several hours, and woke up the next day shaking.

Here is why
I was sexually assaulted. She never told me the new body search
policy. She never told me that she was going to touch my private
parts. She never told me when or where she was going to touch me.
She did not inform me that a private screening was available. She
did not inform me of my rights that were a part of these new enhanced
patdown procedures.

When I booked
my ticket, I was given no information that the TSA had changed their
wand and unintrusive patdown procedures to “enhanced”
patdown procedures that involved the touching of all parts of your
body, including breasts and vagina on women and testicles and penis
on men. I was not informed by any signs on the front side of security
about the new procedures. I had not seen any media coverage about
the issue, so I had no idea that this was a new government sanctioned
policy.

Another important
piece in this story, the Dayton airport does not have the new body
scanners. I was not given any other search options. It was enhanced
patdown, or nothing. (And I would have opted for the body scanner,
if I were going to be subject to a sexual assault.)

I asked to
speak to a supervisor immediately. I had a very unpleasant conversation
with him that lasted 20 minutes. I moved to the back of the security
area, made a few phone calls, including to my lawyer. He did some
quick research, and learned that I had indeed been sexually assaulted
because she did not follow the SOP (standard operating procedure)
for the new search.

During our
first conversation, the TSA acting manager of the shift told me
that the TSA agent who sexually assaulted me was supposed to inform
me about the new search procedure and tell me when and where she
was going to touch me. He also apologized on behalf of himself and
on behalf of the agent who sexually assaulted me. I was not allowed
to speak to the agent who sexually assaulted me, nor did the acting
manager provide me with her name. (I did not have the presence of
mind to look at her nameplate, as I was in shock.)

I also spoke
with the Dayton police, the Dayton airport police, and left a message
for the TSA manager for the Dayton airport. I intend to request
the TSA to arrange for counseling services to be provided to me,
so I can deal with the aftermath of the sexual assault that took
place, caused by the specific touching actions and failure to inform
me of the policies by the TSA agent.

I am speaking
out against the TSA and share my sexual assault case to ensure that
this does not happen to anyone else, anywhere.

I will not
be a silent victim of sexual assault by a TSA agent. Total Sexual
Assault.

I am calling
for immediate change to this new enhanced body patdown search.

I am calling
for the TSA agent who sexually assaulted me to be fired.

I am calling
for you, a fellow American, to stand up against these new enhanced
full body patdown search procedures of the TSA.

Please note:
I do plan on flying back to Ohio on Monday, because it will take
me too long to drive home from Texas. I do not however intend to
fly again until this search policy of sexual molestation is revoked
by the TSA.

I will leave
you with this thought: “It is acceptable and encouraged that
a TSA government official can do something to an American citizen
that US military personnel cannot do to a member of the Taliban.”

*UPDATE: Thank
you all for the links and information about where and with whom
I can share this. I am continuing to take action. Please feel free
to leave other helpful information you find. I will be turning on
comment moderation for the remainder of the day.

**UPDATE #2:
I am in no way trying to belittle the experiences of sexual assault
experienced by others. I hurt and ache for others who have been
sexually assaulted.

Reprinted
with permission from OurLittleChatterboxes.com.

November
17, 2010

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