The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is being sued by a Las Vegas woman who was recently subjected to a “humiliating” and “traumatizing” strip search at Tulsa International Airport — as agents allegedly ordered her to “take down her pants and underwear down to her knees” in a private room.
On Mother’s Day, Rhonda Mengert said goodbye to her family at the Oklahoma air hub and prepared to board her flight back to Sin City when things quickly took a turn for the worse, the suit states.
Mengert, 51, alleges that 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. The plaintiff is familiar with the screening process, as she holds TSA PreCheck clearance given her frequent travels for work.
After the body scan, Mengert was informed she’d have to undergo a pat down, which she agreed to. A female screener checked her groin area, and found a panty liner.
Then, the plaintiff was instructed to follow two female TSA agents into a private room to be “cleared,” as per the lawsuit. Once inside, the screeners informed Mengert they had to “clear the area.”
Confused as to what that implied, 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.
Though she objected, the screeners insisted she had no choice. Complying, an embarrassed Mengert exposed “her genitals and underwear” to the officials before being allowed to go on her way.
Suffering “severe emotional distress during and after the incident,” Mengert said she’s still bewildered by what transpired.
“I just spent the weekend with my kids and grandkids, they’re hugging me goodbye at the airport, and a half-hour later I was violated,” she told The New York Post.
“These people are responsible for violating my sense of self-worth,” she continued. “I wouldn’t wish the emotional distraught this has caused me on my worst enemy.”
Mengert’s attorney, Jonathan Corbett, wrote in a June 5 blog post that the TSA has some major explaining to do, as the agency publically states that they do not include strip searches in their security protocols.
With his client “made to feel that she had no choice and complied” through the uncomfortable ordeal, they now seek injunctive and monetary relief.
A rep for the TSA told Fox News they could not comment on pending litigation, and offered the following statement on the allegations:
“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,” a spokesperson said on June 7.