Aviation securityTSA agent pulls a woman's blouse down, exposing breasts

Published 15 October 2010

An Amarillo woman is suing the U.S. federal government for intentional infliction of emotional distress; the woman says she was frisked by a male TSA agent, who then pulled her blouse completely down, exposing her breasts to everyone in the area

An Amarillo woman is suing the federal government for intentional infliction of emotional distress after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents allegedly humiliated the woman when her breasts were publicly exposed during an “extended search” two years ago at a Corpus Christi airport.

The suit, filed earlier this year in Amarillo’s U.S. District Court, alleges the woman was singled out for “extended search procedures” while preparing to board an aircraft destined for Amarillo on 29 May 2008.

As the TSA agent was frisking plaintiff, the agent pulled the plaintiff’s blouse completely down, exposing plaintiffs’ breasts to everyone in the area,” the lawsuit said. “As would be expected, plaintiff was extremely embarrassed and humiliated.”

Amarillo Globe-News’s Jim McBride writes that the suit said the woman filed an administrative claim against the TSA, but the agency never responded, sparking the lawsuit.

The suit also claims that other TSA employees continued to joke and laugh about the incident for an extended period of time. The woman was distraught over the incident and left the screening area so an acquaintance could console her, the suit said.

When the woman re-entered the boarding area, employees once again began joking about the matter, the suit said.

One male TSA employee expressed to the plaintiff that he wished he would have been there when she came through the first time and that ‘he would just have to watch the video,’” the suit said.

The lawsuit claims, among other allegations, that federal employees were negligent and that employees intentionally caused the woman severe emotional distress by joking about the incident after the woman re-entered the airport screening area.

In court documents, government attorneys acknowledged that the woman went through secondary screening at a TSA checkpoint, but denied the suit’s claims.

The woman’s attorney, Jerry McLaughlin, said the woman, now a 23-year-old college student, believes TSA employees acted improperly after a female TSA agent pulled off the woman’s top during the screening.

It was kind of a bad situation. They didn’t handle it correctly,” he said. “One of our major complaints is that even after it occurred, they started making jokes about it.”