BUSINESS

U.S. border officials get too “hands on”

TAGs: sexual groping, Us/Canada Border control

Border ControlTwo lawsuits were filed against U.S. border officials today by three distressed Canadian ladies who claim they were “sexually groped” at the at the Canada-U.S. border near Windsor, Ontario, last year.

The ladies’ lawyer – whose surname is perhaps inappropriate for such a case – Tom Wienner said in a report by Postmedia News that all three had alleged they were “unreasonably and improperly searched” at the border in violation of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

He added: “They all allege essentially that the type of search they received was not a normal pat down or a normal personal search, but it really was more than that,” he alleged. “It was invasive and outrageous and in the nature of sexual groping in the case of all three women.”

The lawsuits were filed in a U.S. District Court in Michigan, one on behalf of Windsor resident Leslie Ingratta and two others from women who do not want to be named in the media. Ingratta said in the report that the incident took place on 30 Jan 2011 during what she thought would be a “routine shopping trip”.

Ingratta, who is a support worker for individuals with mental and physical disabilities, said: “It was degrading and humiliating. I want people to know there was no reason for it.”

According to her statement of claim, two female border guards “fondled” her breasts and ass, which led on to the “stroking” of her groin. Even more degrading for Ingratta, she also claims one of the officers asked her whether she was on a “booty call.”

Ingratta’s claim stated: “Upon information and belief, this search was carried out contrary to standard procedure and without any reasonable suspicion that the type of search performed was warranted. This unauthorised, unreasonable, unduly threatening and physically invasive search violated plaintiff’s fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.”

“As a direct result of this violation of her fourth amendment rights, plaintiff has suffered mental anguish and emotional distress. Due to the outrageousness of defendants’ violation of plaintiff’s constitutional rights, defendants are jointly liable to plaintiff for punitive damages as well as compensatory damages for her mental anguish and emotional distress in amounts to be determined at trial,” the claim continued.

While Ingratta seeks compensation for the incident, she has requested tapes from the waiting room where the ordeal took place for proof. If the footage does reflect what Ingratta and the other two women say, let’s hope justice is awarded to them.

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