Teenage Girl is Strip-Searched by U.S. Customs Officials During a Pat Down

Via GoFundMe

A San Diego father is seeking justice after his 16-year-old daughter was strip-searched by CBP officers  (Custom and Border Protection Officers), leaving her traumatized. The girl’s father, Scott Catlin, said the September 5th incident occurred when the teen and her two older sisters, ages 18 and 20, were coming back from visiting their grandmother.

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After a K-9 alerted officers in the direction of the girls at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the 18 and 16-year-old sisters were separated and sent to secondary inspection. Two female CBP then took the 16-year-old girl to a room alone where her father claims she was inspected all over her body including her lower area where she had a maxi pad in place. She was then forced to remove her clothing to prove she was not carrying any contraband concealed in her maxi pad.

In a joint statement with Catlin’s lawyer, Francisco Javier Aladana said, “They violated her privacy, her constitutional rights against these unreasonable searched and seizures.” He pointed out that before and during the course of the inspection no attempts were made to contact the parents of the teen. The only two adults who were present were the CBP officers.

According to CBS8, this isn’t the first incident of misconduct reported to the American Friends Service Committee, a religious organization that advocates for peace and social justice. This year alone they have received 50 complaints of inappropriate touching.

CBP was not able to comment on this specific incident but in a statement said that “CBP takes allegations of misconduct seriously. Under a uniform system, allegations of misconduct are documented and referred to the DHS office of inspector general for independent review and assessment.”

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On Friday, Catlin and his lawyer will be meeting with the inspector general to decide whether or not to file a lawsuit.