The Rutherford Institute is demanding surveillance video from a Transportation Security Administration incident near Washington, D.C., in which agents allegedly groped a 13-year-old girl.
The allegations come from a Texas family that recently went through Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.
The agents not only groped the young girl, they “reported the father to police after he objected to the TSA’s treatment of his minor children,” the institute claimed.
The father, Daniel McAdams, is executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
McAdams claimed a TSA agent “struck him in the groin during a pat-down search.”
The family then was “forcibly” separated from a 10-year-old child during the screening.
Rutherford, in a Freedom of Information Act case, is demanding access to the surveillance video and other information.
The institute’s goal is to determine the legal options available to the McAdams family.
“No American should be subjected to a virtual strip search or excessive groping of the body, or have their underage children touched intimately by strangers as a matter of course in boarding an airplane when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
“Unfortunately, under the direction of the TSA, American travelers have been subjected to all manner of searches ranging from whole-body scanners and enhanced patdowns at airports to bag searches in train stations and sports arenas.”
The confrontation developed Aug. 20, when the family was returning to Texas after taking part in the third annual Ron Paul Institute’s Peace and Prosperity Conference.
“On previous trips, McAdams’ wife was allowed to accompany their 10- and 13-year-old daughters through TSA body scanners. On this occasion, however, a TSA agent ordered that the wife could not accompany the daughters, asserting that the wife had opted-out from the scanner and would have to wait to be patted down by a female agent. As the McAdams objected that there had been no opt-out, the younger daughter went through the scanner on her own and strayed out of sight of her parents, causing them great alarm,” the institute said.
“Additionally, the TSA agent ordered that the McAdams’ 13-year old daughter would have to undergo a pat-down search, although there was no indication that she had opted-out of the scanner.”
When McAdams voiced “strong objections” to the treatment, “a TSA agent then began a pat-down search of McAdams and “roughly jabbed his hand in McAdams’ groin, causing him to nearly double over in pain.”
“When McAdams commented that this was a ‘sick way to make a living,’ the TSA agent got on his radio and summoned police, asserting that McAdams had interfered with an investigation by moving during the pat-down,” the institute said.
The airport officer quickly determined no charges were warranted, and the family contacted the institute for legal help.
The case is developing just as attorneys are asking for a reversal of a court ruling that essentially exempts TSA agents from liability for their actions.
A lower court decision granted virtual immunity to TSA agents “who engage in official misconduct” by ruling that they cannot be sued.