Colorado woman alleges sexual assault during TSA pat-down

To me it was as extensive as an exam from my physician -- full touching and grabbing in the front. I felt uncomfortable, I felt violated," woman says.

By Evan Bleier
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A post-Christmas pat-down on Dec. 26 by a female Transportation Security Administration officer at Denver International Airport has caused a Colorado woman to file a sexual assault complaint.

Jamelyn Steenhoek, 39, filed the complaint after she was searched while bringing her 13-year-old daughter to a flight on its way to Philadelphia.


“I feel like someone who works for a powerful agency that we are afraid of used their power to violate me sexually -- to put me in my place,” Steenhoek said.

The county social services department worker claims the metal detector picked up the jewels on her pants pockets, and a chemical search of her hands must have picked up gasoline she pumped into her car earlier.

Steenhoek says she was brought into a private room at the TSA checkpoint and searched while her daughter looked on from a few feet away.

"At that point she did a pretty invasive search," Steenhoek said. "They are just areas of the body I’m not comfortable being touched in. On the outside of my pants she cupped my crotch. I was uncomfortable with that."

“The part of the search that bothered most was the breast search. You could tell it shouldn’t take that much groping. To me it was as extensive as an exam from my physician -- full touching and grabbing in the front. I felt uncomfortable, I felt violated.”


TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon released a statement about the situation:

“TSA’s security officers are trained to perform each pat down in a professional manner to ensure that all individuals are screened to the same standards. Complaints about pat-down procedures are thoroughly investigated, and the agency takes appropriate action, if warranted. The agency cannot comment on an ongoing law enforcement investigation, but is confident the facts will support our officer’s adherence to proper pat-down procedures.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“It’s an open and active investigation,” said Denver police spokesperson Sonny Jackson. “We take all complaints seriously and we are on this case as well. We have launched an investigation into it. We’ll present it to the district attorney and see if there’s enough to charge.”

[CBS Denver]

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