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Jesse Ventura Suing TSA for Sexual Assault Pat Down

January 25, 2011

Former wrestler and one-term Minnesota governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura is suing Homeland Security (DHS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and their leaders for getting too cozy with his body during a security screening. Ventura claims new security procedures amount to “sexual assault.”

In the official complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, Ventura is suing DHS and its secretary, Janet Napolitano, as well as TSA and its administrator, John Pistole.

According to KSTP-TV in Minnesota, Ventura accuses the agencies of violating his “basic rights to privacy and dignity, and his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” after receiving a pat-down by a TSA agent at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in November 2010.

Ventura, in the suit, describes the pat-down as “warrantless, non-suspicion-based offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genital and other sensitive areas of his body,“ and says it met ”the definition for an unlawful sexual assault.”

“He‘s made a decision that someone needs to make a stand and he’s not one to back down from a fight,” Ventura’s lawyer, David Olsen, told KSTP. “He sees the erosion of civil liberties here and he’s willing to stand up not only for himself, but for others.”

KMSP in Minneapolis reports Ventura claims his metal hip has exposed him to a new level of unfair scrutiny:

According to the lawsuit, Ventura received a hip replacement in 2008, and since then, his titanium implant has set off metal detectors at airport security checkpoints. The lawsuit said that prior to last November officials had used a non-invasive hand-held wand to scan his body as a secondary security measure.

But when Ventura set off the metal detector in November, he was instead subjected to a body pat-down and was not given the option of a scan with a hand-held wand or an exemption for being a frequent traveler, the lawsuit said.

Ventura now refuses to fly commercially.

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