One woman is comparing her experience at Lambert Airport to a sexual assault.
Business traveler, Penny Moroney, was flying home from St. Louis to Chicago. Like all other airline passengers, she had to go through security first. When the metal in her artificial knees set off the detectors, she had to undergo more screening. When Moroney asked if she could go through a body scanner, she was told none were available.
A pat down was the only alternative.
Moroney explains “Her gloved hands touched my breasts...went between them. Then she went into the top of my slacks, inserted her hands between my underwear and my skin... then put her hands up on outside of slacks, and patted my genitals.”
“IwasshakingandcryingwhenIleftthatroom”Moroneysays. “Underanyothercircumstance,ifa person touched me like that without my permission, it would be considered criminal sexual assault.”
Moroney complained to the Transportation Security Administration, TSA, supervisor and then complained on the ACLU’s website.
The national office is now monitoring what it calls a “flood of complaints” from across the country.
Edwin Yohnka of ACLU Illinois says there are no laws and no regulations that govern scanners and pat downs.
Moroney said she wishes there were full body scanners everywhere so that she could have avoided a pat down.
The TSA’s response was that their officers’ first priority is safety when asked if putting hands down thefront of someone’s pants is excessive. The TSA said they don’t comment on individual screening procedures at checkpoints.
Anyone who sets off the metal detectors is required to go through a physical pat down, but the TSA says they use a less aggressive touch for children under 12.
The government is currently adding more body scanners at airports across the country.