Airport officials could face prosecution for sexual assault over security ‘gropes’

Daily Mail
01.03.2011
By Daily Mail Reporter

Airport officials could face prosecution for sexual assault over security ‘gropes’ and viewing intimate images

Airport security officials who touch or view a person’s breast or genitals without good reason would be charged with sexual assault under a new state bill.

The proposal in New Hampshire would mean anyone convicted of the offence being registered for life on the sex offenders’ list.

But currently, there are no imaging screens operating at ANY of the state’s airports.

Employees working as a security agent of the federal, state, or local government are affected by the bill. Its provisions include touching or viewing with a ‘technological device.’

The proposals put today before the Criminal Justice Committee at the statehouse in Concord, follows widespread condemnation of the increasingly intimate ‘pat downs’ by TSA officers and revealing images on the screens.

Republican George Lambert, the bill’s co-sponsor, said passengers would not be guilty of ‘probable cause’ if they:

Had a copy of the constitution.

Discussed the security apparatus of an airport.

Were on the premises of an airport.

Possessed a plane ticket or any other type of ticket for access to mass transportation.

Drove a motor vehicle on a public way, or owned a firearm.

TSA spokesman Anne Davis confirmed there were no advanced imaging screens in operation in New Hampshire.

She said: ‘In terms of pat downs, we have announced enhanced measures. This happens if a passenger sets off an alarm.’

But the bill’s co-sponsor, Andrew Manuse, said the proposals were intended to ‘prevent’ screening machines coming to New Hampshire.

The Republican for Derry said: ‘The horror stories come up all the time when you challenge the TSA, particularly when people mention their 4th amendment constitutional rights.

‘I’ve seen people get streamed more stringently because of that. There will be a vote on this and I’m pretty confident we will win.’

In recent weeks at least two passengers, including a 54-year-old Missouri City man, have complained about airport staff putting their hands down the front and rear of their pants.

Thomas Mollman, 54, said he experienced the controversial ‘pat down’ when he was travelling through security at Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Mr Mollman, who was wearing shorts at the time of the search, said he was subjected to a ‘groping’ by a TSA officer, and he believe his experience was tantamount to sexual molestation.

He said: ‘[The officer] put his hand in between my underwear and my skin and did a 360 all the way around, touching certain sensitive points in the back and the front.’

He added: ‘This was an assault. This was no different than a sexual assault.’

In Chattanooga, Tennessee the TSA conducted a body search of a three-year-old girl, the daughter of television reporter Steven Simon.

Simon recording his daughter, who had set off a metal detector, screaming and crying as the TSA guard searched her body.

Full article

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