Man Claims To Need Groin Surgery After Rough TSA Patdown

Filed Under: Security/TSA

I’m not a fan of the TSA, and generally don’t give them the benefit of the doubt, given their track record. However, this is a situation I’m a bit skeptical of, to put it mildly. NBC 5 Chicago shares the story of a man who claims that he had such an invasive pat down at Chicago O’Hare that he’s going to need surgery.

In March David Stavropolous was sent through a body scanner at a TSA checkpoint at O’Hare. He had a dollar bill in his pocket (your pockets are supposed to be completely empty when going through the scanner), so the TSA agent had to perform a pat down around his mid-section, since that’s where the machine indicated there was something. Per the story:

But Stavropolous says he was stopped at a security checkpoint at O’Hare, and frisked so hard by a TSA agent that he will need surgery in October.

It was during that patdown, he said, that the agent drove a hand into his groin so hard, twice, that he was immediately hit by waves of pain.

“I turned around and said, you injured me,” he said. “I’d like to talk to your supervisor!”

“I see a urologist once or twice a month,” he said. “I’m still in pain—I still have issues with bleeding.”

There’s a video of the incident, and frankly it doesn’t look any rougher than usual. The pat down near the groin is standard operating procedure for the TSA if the scanner indicates that there’s something in the area.

The passenger is also quoted as saying that he’d refuse to doing a strip search in private, and that he’d do it out in the open. As heroic as that sounds, the TSA doesn’t perform strip searches.

Here’s the news clip, including a video of the passenger getting a pat down (sorry for how it embeds, but if you click on the video you can expand it):

So I’m conflicted here. On one hand I can’t feel what the guy feels, so I don’t want to completely dismiss it. At the same time, from the video I don’t see anything that looks remotely unusual. If he is in fact experiencing horrible pain as a result of this, I imagine there must have been some sort of a pre-existing condition. Usually the TSA agent is supposed to ask if you have any sensitive areas before performing a pat down. To go from an, ahem, “healthy groin area” to bleeding and surgery as a result of this seems… surprising.

What do you make of this incident?

  1. Hope he wins. Those sickos should have to pay for the daily sexual assault they commit everyday on innocent Americans.

    Front of the hand, back of the hand. No difference – it’s sexual assault.

    Just because they have a badge doesn’t mean its right. #EndTheTSA

  2. Hope he end. These sickos need to be stopped. Front of hand, back of hand. Whatever – it’s sexual assault on innocent Americans that’s legal because they have a badge. Do it anywhere else and you’re going to jail.


  3. I feel sorry for that man’s urologist. As a surgeon, such a pat down would not have injured a “healthy”groin area.

  4. Assuming no prior condition, it seems pretty ridiculous that he’d have such an injury after a pat down. And, honestly, he didn’t appear to be in any pain after the pat down either. That area is extremely sensitive (as we all know), so if he’d been seriously injured it should be apparent on the video.

    That said, it appears that the TSA agent cupped/grabbed the man’s groin. To my knowledge, that is not the appropriate pat down procedure. The TSA agent should have used the back of his hand if he needed to touch the man’s groin.

  5. Someone else trying to make the TSA look bad and get a paycheck. He is afraid to fly… GTFOH. If you had followed instructions , for ALL our safety, you would not have gotten the extra pay down. PS. You should sue because you got embarrassed he pat you down and you got excited…

  6. I read this article literally 5 minutes after getting fully felt up by security at Seattle airport after flying in form HNL. I couldn’t believe how much he was “feeling” around. Is extreme, I had nothing on me just wearing normal trousers.
    I’m Australian and have never experienced this from security anywhere I have ever been. Is sad that it has come to this…

  7. I tend to believe him. Is it so hard to believe TSA could hurt someone with their current procedures?

  8. Cmon man, sounds like his first call was to Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe. There’s no way this guy was injured by a TSA pat down.

  9. I have experienced extremely aggressive, bordering on violent and unstable TSA staff in both Tampa and Portland. Many employees of this venerable institution should have no place working on the front lines of safety or should not have employment that requires interaction with other humans.

  10. Ok, I detest the TSA and think they are a completely worthless organization employing power-hungry cretins, but this guy is an utter crock of bullsh*t. 2nd vote from a doctor…. ER trauma physician.

  11. @BBTBphile Yet here you are, reading and posting a comment; it seems you enjoy ‘attention whoring travel blogs’, to paraphrase your remark.

  12. I worked in an airport and have watch many, many men get patted down. That TSO in the video was really rough compared to what I have witnessed on an almost daily basis. But, it still complies with TSA rules for pat-downs. What I have learned is this: the TSO’s are supposed to touch your genitalia enough to make you flinch because then they know that they are touching skin and not an explosive. Which, when you think about it, this procedure, is in of itself a practical idea. However when put into practice and within the context of a free society free from excessive force during searches, this may not be the best way to handle loads of people who already nail-biting nervous from the thought of flying. We have the technology, let’s use that instead of checking out grandma’s crotch by hand.

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