Texas bill would make invasive pat-downs a felony
By ANGELA K. BROWN
FORT WORTH, Texas – A former Miss USA’s tearful claim that she was groped during a pat-down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport could be a criminal matter under a bill gaining momentum in the Texas Legislature.
The proposed Texas law, aimed at people conducting security checkpoints at airports and public buildings, would make it a felony to intentionally touch someone’s private areas — even on top of clothing — unless the officer or agent has probable cause to believe the person is carrying something illegal.
State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, who sponsored the bill, said Friday that the invasive pat-down searches at airports nationwide are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches. Last fall the Transportation Security Administration implemented a new pat-down procedure that includes a security worker running a hand up the inside of passengers’ legs and along the cheek of the buttocks, as well as making direct contact with the groin area.