Just days after a New Mexico man filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was subjected to 14 hours of anal probing, enemas and other procedures by police officers and medical professionals, a woman has come forward saying she experienced a similar violation.
According to Laura Schauer Ives, legal director of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the woman -- who declined to be identified because she considers herself to be a sexual-assault victim -- was crossing the border through a port of entry from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas when federal agents stopped her and asked her to undress, spread her genitalia and cough, according to KOB’s 4 On Your Side.
As KOB reports, the woman was transported to University Medical Center of El Paso for further examination.
"First, medical staff observed her making a bowel movement and no drugs were found at that point," Schauer Ives said. "They then took an X-ray, but it did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus, they described in the medical records as bi-manual -- two handed. Finally, they did a CT scan. Again they found nothing."
According to KOB, the ACLU says the woman never gave her consent for the search, and federal agents never got a search warrant.
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"I think law enforcement has been emboldened, particularly when it comes to drug interdiction,” Schauer Ives said, according to Associated Press. “It's kind of anything goes. You couple that with drug interdiction at the border and you have a recipe for serious civil liberties violations."
Schauer Ives is filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of the woman.
As KOB reports, Doug Mosier, a spokesman for Customs and Border Patrol, issued the following statement on the case: "CBP cannot verify information relative to these ACLU allegations since we have not seen a copy of the report, nor have we been provided necessary details in order to investigate. CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off-duty."
There have been three reported incidents of invasive procedures by police and doctors: David Eckert, who said he experienced 14 hours of anal probing, Timothy Young, who was brought to the same hospital as Eckert and subjected to procedures like multiple X-rays and an anal exam, and the unidentified woman who has just come forward.