PTSD-suffering senior mauled by TSA

Victim’s letter to

Date of incident: November 11, 2010
Location: Terminal 1 LAX — Los Angeles, CA
Time: approximately 10:30 AM

My 86 year old disabled husband and I were directed to enter the line at the far left of the TSA inspection lines at LAX terminal 1 — my husband is disabled and uses a walker. After getting his bags and wheelchair on the belt and making certain he was OK I attempted to go through the X-ray. A TSA (female) agent stood in the middle of the portal before I could go through and said that I was selected to be patted down. I asked why since I had not even gone through the X-ray portal yet nor set of any alarms. She told me it was because of the clothing I was wearing (tight yoga pants, a t-shirt and a zip up hoodie), and that I was “suspicious”. I might add at this point that I am a 65 year old caucasian woman (with a Texas accent). She then asked me if I minded the pat down and I said that I did since I did not set off the X-ray as she did not allow me to go through it. She then asked me again if I minded the pat down and I again told her I did mind but that since I wanted to board my flight to go ahead and do it. She led me to a folding chair next to a walled off space at the back of the inspection area and asked me to sit down and not to move while she found someone to pat me down. In the meantime all my possessions — my bag, my computer and my CPAP machine were left unguarded on the belt for anyone to take. I sat there for about 10 minutes while this TSA person screamed for someone named Jackie (I think that was her name) to come and pat me down. “Jackie finally shows up and makes me stand on these two yellow footprints. As I stood I said in a very calm voice that I had acute PTSD and that I panicked at strangers touching me. She replied “HUH” — like who cares. She again asked me if I minded if she patted me down and I said yes I did because of the PTSD but that she should go ahead because I had no choice. She began the pat down at my ankles and rubbed up and down very forcefully on my legs with both hands — about two inches at a time until she reached my groin area and then the sides of her hands went very roughly into my vagina. Then she made me turn around and she did the same thing on the backs of my legs with her hands entering into my buttocks. By this time I was crying and felt like I was going to have a heart attack with the treatment I was getting. When she examined my breast area she rubbed both her hands across my enitre breast and then under and over the top of them. She rubbed my neck and my hair. While all this was going on three other TSA agents (one man and one woman) were standing in front of me and laughing at me because I was crying. One woman told me I could ask for a private screening — I refused because I was afraid that I would be sexually assaulted even more if no one could see what “Jackie” was doing. The pat down took about 5 to 7 minutes. When it was over I sat back down in the chair and cried — I was so upset I could not get up and walk. My husband came and got me and walked me out holding onto his walker. I called my doctors who told me to take more of the anxiety medicine and I thought I should call the police and file charges. In retrospect I should have!

The reason I am writing is that my PTSD is now so severe after this incident that I am unable to fly — I am terrified of this assault happening to me again. I feel that not only was I sexually assaulted by the TSA but that my Fourth Amendment rights were violated — there was no probable cause to select me for this type of search BEFORE I even went through the X-ray portal. This is a patent violation of TSA’s own rules — on their website the TSA states that persons who are selected for a pat down will be those who set off the X-ray alarm or refuse to go into the all body X-ray — neither one of those options were given to me. Is the only way to protect me from “terrorists” to sexually assault me in the airport? I am an American citizen, I pay my taxes on time and a grandmother — this assault has severely compromised my mental health in addition to violating my basic rights as a citizen under the Fourth Amendment.

I am cynical and realistic — I know that either this message will never be read or if it is read discarded as a message from some crank. I can assure you I am not — I recently retired after working 40 years, am very educated (BA and MBA), my husband is a professor of civil engineering and my children are all working scientists. My grandson wants to study astrophysics. I developed PTSD from working in real estate in the DC area where I was held hostage at gunpoint twice, witnessed the aftermath of the shooting death of a 9 month old baby by drug dealers and a man burned alive in his car by a 14 year old drugged out gang member. Survived all that and then ironically am sexually assaulted in the airport by the TSA which has literally pushed me over the edge.

Shame on all of you! If you are a man reading this message I challenge you to take your wife or daughter to the airport in Los Angeles and let Jackie work on them — you might change your mind about how bad these “pat downs” are — they are really rapes masaquerading as searches for terrorists.

A Young

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