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A woman's private photos are now at the heart of a federal investigation after the woman said an airport security agent forced her to show the photos to get back into the United States after an overseas cosmetics surgery. Willard Shepaprd reports.
A woman's private photos are now at the heart of a federal investigation after the woman said an airport security agent forced her to show the photos to get back into the United States after an overseas cosmetics surgery.
Korine Teamer, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla. but went to the Dominican Republic for a tummy tuck and liposuction, is alleging sexual harassment by a Customs and Border Patrol agent at Miami International airport who asked for the photos earlier this month.
She said when she arrived at MIA for her connecting flight to Jacksonville, she was still in a wheelchair recovering from the surgery. She had already cleared the passport control line, she said, when an agent at a fourth gate asked for documentation of the surgery.
Although she said she provided medical records, the agent demanded she also show before and after photos of the areas where she received surgery or she wouldn't be cleared to head home. She reluctantly showed them the photos which were on her phone, but said she suffered a huge embarrassment.
The photos show the cuts on her stomach and rear end. Some show her genitals.
"I took pictures of my butt from the back because I wanted to see what it looked like," she said. "So I had some pretty graphic pictures on there. And there's one picture of a cut down there by my vagina, because I was sending it to my doctor."
Teamer said the delay at Customs caused her to miss her connecting flight, so she filed a complaint with MIA's customer service department.
An e-mail sent to supervisors by airport worker Diana Berron read:
"I met with Ms. Korine Marie Teamer, who was allegedly sexually harassed by a Customs Officer. Ms. Teamer still has drainage in her legs and can't walk. She was sent to booth #5 where the Customs Officer began questioning her. He wanted to know why she had gone to Santo Domingo. He told her he didn’t believe her and asked to see pictures proving that she had undergone surgery. She showed him pictures of herself before and after the surgeries. Ms. Teamer was extremely distraught."
Officials with CBP told NBC 6 the department is looking into Teamer's allegations.
A statement from CBP read:
"[Customs and Border Patrol] expects all its officers to conduct their duties in a professional manner and to treat each traveler with dignity and respect."
Teamer said she has contacted a lawyer and is considering taking legal action.
Although legally travelers give up some privacy rights at airports for security reasons, Teamer said she thinks agents went too far in this case.