A Metro Atlanta woman who claims she was sexually harassed by a Transportation Security Administration officer has filed a complaint in hopes of preventing this alleged misconduct from happening to another traveler.
In the complaint filed on Nov. 17, Megan Weisman accused a TSA officer of engaging in “egregious misconduct” and “sexual harassment” during an incident in the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport earlier this year.
Channel 2 Action News isn’t naming the accused officer because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
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“On August 24th at approximately 6:30 pm, Megan Weisman was traveling with her husband, David Weisman, from Atlanta to Palm Beach, Florida and was subjected to egregious misconduct and sexual harassment by a TSA employee,” according to the complaint. “The incident began when Ms. Weisman approached the TSA security checkpoint at the International Terminal at the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Mr. Weisman is TSA pre-check but Ms. Weisman is not, so the pair split up at the security checkpoint and Ms. Weisman proceeded through the security checkpoint alone and planned to meet up with her husband after they passed through security.”
When Weisman approached the TSA employee, she claimed she handed over her license, but she believes he was looking for more than just her ID and boarding pass.
“He held onto my ID for a very long time and continued to stare down at the picture and then look up at me for an odd amount of time,” Weisman told Channel 2 during an exclusive interview Tuesday. “He said, ‘there’s a problem with your identification? There’s a smudge here. You don’t see it? Lean in right here. It says ‘81, but it should say ‘01.’”
“I realized that not only was there nothing wrong with my identification, but this TSA officer was actually hitting on me,” she added.
She said he took her ID and then walked away from his post.
“When he came back, he was holding my ID and a yellow post it note,” she added. “He started writing down my personal information, including my home address and then he handed me a business card with his cell number and personal email. He then told me ‘I’m looking and maybe I’ll see you on your way back.’”
Megan says she feel embarrassed and humiliated, but she remained quiet because she feared he may continue to harass her.
“All I wanted to do was to run out of there and just get somewhere safe,” she added. " I just wanted to get to the other side where my husband had been waiting.”
Weisman claims the harassment didn’t stop there because after she walked through a body scanner, a second male TSA officer told her that she needed to go through it again and make sure that she pulled up her pants higher.
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“At this point, there were tears coming out of my eyes and I was shaking,” she explained. “And he said, ‘it’s not like I asked you to take them off ,’ and then he started laughing.”
“When I came through the second time, the female agent who was supposed to do a pat down rolled her eyes and said, ‘you got flagged so they could look closer at your groin.”
In a statement, a TSA spokesperson told Channel 2 the following:
“The TSA officer is currently on non-screening duties pending the outcome of the investigation. TSA does not comment on pending litigation.”
Channel 2 reached out to the officer named in the complaint, but he declined to comment on camera. In a text message, he told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that “allegations were made and still entirely under investigation.”
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Megan says she filed her complaint with TSA on the following day and as soon as they arrived back in Atlanta, they were met by TSA agents who escorted them from the plane to their vehicle. She also said the incident has been so traumatic for her and her family that they were forced to hire armed security guards to patrol their home because she feared the TSA officer may try to hurt her and her family.
“It’s angering and extremely disappointing because this was reported in August and this investigation is pretty cut and dry,” she added. “It’s infuriating. It feels as if I have no power. And their (TSA officers) job is to protect us. Certainly not to use sexual intimidation. And that’s exactly what happened here. They should not be employed by the government and anyone who was involved in anything like this shouldn’t be employed by our government. We certainly shouldn’t be paying taxes to support this type of behavior.”
Megan’s attorney, Andrea Hirsch, of Atlanta-based law firm Cohen Hirsch, LP told Channel 2 that she’s hoping that her client’s story will empower other victims to come forward and report this type of misconduct. She also said that the federal government has six months to respond to her complaint and if not, then this could end up in federal court.
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