Former Miss USA: Airport Screeners "Molested" Me

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A former Miss USA is accusing Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport personnel of molesting her during a pat-down search last week.

    Susie Castillo, an actress, 2003 Miss USA and a former MTV VJ, complained about the pat-down in a YouTube video and in a blog post on her website.

    Former Miss USA Taking on TSA Pat-Downs

    [DFW] Former Miss USA Taking on TSA Pat-Downs
    Susie Castillo, an actress, 2003 Miss USA and a former MTV VJ, complained about a pat-down a DFW Airport in a YouTube video and on her website. (Published Thursday, Apr 28, 2011)

    Castillo, who passed through DFW Airport on April 21, said she opted for a pat-down search because she believes the full-body scans are dangerous.

    "They are making me choose to get molested, because that's what I feel like," Castillo said in a YouTube video apparently recorded right after the search.

    2003 Miss USA Says She Was Molested in Airport Pat-Down

    [DFW] 2003 Miss USA Says She Was Molested in Airport Pat-Down
    Susie Castillo says screeners at DFW Airport molested her during a pat-down search. (Published Thursday, Apr 28, 2011)

    On the recording, she described how a female Transportation Security Administration worker touched her genitals four times.

    "I'm crying because I'm really, really upset, that I'm an American, and I have to go through this," Castillo said.

    Revealing What Airport Body Scanners See

    [DFW] Revealing What Airport Body Scanners See
    Full-body scanners that let airport screeners see through clothing are stirring a debate about privacy concerns vs. security concerns. (Published Monday, Jan 11, 2010)

    On her website, a TSA complaint form is posted as part of her lengthy blog entry about the incident.

    But TSA spokesman Luis Casanova said Thursday that the agency had not received the formal complaint a week after the incident.

    "What she experienced is the standard pat-down that everyone goes through," Casanova said.

    The spokesman said the TSA has launched an investigation anyway because the video and stories about the search were spreading all over the Internet.

    "It's a necessary part of air travel nowadays, and if you don't submit to the body scanner, then we need to ascertain that there's nothing dangerous underneath your clothes," Casanova said. "And the only other way to do that, other than a body scan, is through a pat-down."

    Casanova said workers have already been interviewed and recorded security-checkpoint video will be reviewed.

    "We're not overly concerned that there's been a misstep," he said. "I think what we're dealing with here is her -- Ms. Castillo's -- level of discomfort, which is understandable."

    Several other women interviewed at DFW Airport who have also been subject to pat-down searches said they had no complaints.

    Virginia Grey is subject to a pat-down search every time she flies because of her hip replacement.

    "My experience has been no problem, and I don't know of anyone who has said anything either," she said.

    European traveler Hiene Haapala said she has also received pat-down searches in several countries.

    "I don't really mind," she said. "It's their job, and it's for security."

    In her blog, Castillo said she could not remain quiet about her experience.

    "I felt truly violated, and I felt I should let my voice be heard," she said.