LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas valley woman who expressed her anger after a traumatic experience with TSA at an Oklahoma Airport is making national headlines. Rhonda Mengert filed a lawsuit against TSA after she said two agents took her into a room and violated her constitutional rights when they strip-searched her.
“I was just stunned; stunned when they said that I had to do that,” according to Mengert.
Since that day, Mengert says her sense of security has been shattered. she says she’ll never forget that experience.
“You start going back through the panic and the anxiety and the emotion,” Mengert said.
Mengert, who lives in Las Vegas, was heading home last month after a mother’s day visit with her family in Oklahoma.
“It’s surreal; I mean I’m talking to you about it, and the words are out of my mouth, and it’s hard to believe that actually happened,” Mengert said.
That’s when, according to Mengert, the absolute worst happened at Tulsa International Airport.
That’s when they said ma’am we need; ma’am we need you to take your shorts and your underwear down and show the item for inspection, so what am I supposed to do,” Mengert said.
Mengert told 8 News NOW, TSA agents took her into a room and made her expose herself for the search.
“I was accosted. I had no personal ability to protect myself against them; they took it away,” Mengert said.
Mengert says they had no valid reason to do this and calls it a violation of her 4th Amendment rights, so she’s fighting back with a lawsuit.
“It’s gone too far. It’s overreach. It’s too much,” she said.
A TSA spokesperson provided the following statement related to Mengert’s claim”
“Due to pending litigation, we can not comment on the specifics of this case. TSA does not conduct strip searches and is committed to ensuring the safety of travelers.”
Mengert says she’s pushing for a balance between safety and respect.
“How dare you humiliate me that way; how dare you,” Mengert asked.
Mengert says she won’t stop these efforts until crucial changes are made.
I was a victim but, I don’t have to stay one,” she said.
Mengert and her attorney don’t have a specific number in mind when it comes to damages. They say they plan to let a jury decide.
Mengert says her main concern is to make sure this never happens to anyone else, ever again. For more on the lawsuit, go here.