Originally published July 11 2014
Woman recieves $1 million settlement after Border Patrol agents illegally cavity-searched her repeatedly for six hours
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) As Natural News previously reported in December 2013, a 54-year-old New Mexico woman was seized by U.S. Border Patrol agents and illegally cavity-searched at the nearby hosptial University Medical Center of El Paso. Essentially raped and defiled for six hours, the lady, who wishes to remain anonymous, was body-probed and examined against her will. She remembers being forced to "take off her pants and crouch as her anus and vagina were examined with a flashlight."
Border Patrol Agents use hospital to probe woman's vagina and anus raw"Over the course of the next six hours, defendants subjected Ms. Doe to a series of highly invasive searches, any one of which would have been humiliating and demeaning," the 17-page complaint said.
"First, government agents stripped searched Ms. Doe and made a visual and manual inspection of her genitals and anus."
When nothing was found, the Border Patrol agents subjected the woman to "an observed bowel movement."
The intrusions didn't end there. "When that procedure yielded no evidence of drugs, defendants X-rayed Ms. Doe." When nothing showed up on the scan, the defenseless lady was forced onto an examining table, where a speculum was inserted into her vagina, while being subjected to a rectal exam and a bimanual cavity search of the vagina. With no evidence emerging, the agents finally ordered the lady to undergo a CT scan, which also brought back no evidence.
In their scheme of treachery, the Border Patrol agents even tried to get the woman to sign a medical consent form after they abused her so that they wouldn't be liable for the abuses. She refused.
The Border Patrol agents did not even obtain a search warrant to justify the search of her body. The complaint stated that she was injured physically, mentally and emotionally. "Her labia, vaginal opening, and anus were left raw and sore and she felt violated, demeaned and powerless as a result of the searches."
To make matters worse, the hospital sent the woman a $5,000 bill for the examinations.
$1.1 million settlement reached but Border Patrol Agents still off the hookAfter she was released by the abusive Border Patrol agents on December 8, 2012, the Lovington, New Mexico, woman filed suit against the University Medical Center of El Paso and its board members, the very people who looked on while she was treated so inhumanely. She additionally filed suit against the abusive Border Patrol agents, despite never wanting to think about them again.
A settlement has been reached between the ACLU and the University Medical Center of El Paso, awarding the New Mexico woman with $1.1 million. It's hard to image that any amount of money could take away the memory of the horrifying experience that she went through.
Laura Shauer Ives with the ACLU said, "We hope this settlement will stand as a powerful reminder to other doctors and medical facilities that they have the right and responsibility to refuse to carry out unjustified, unnecessary, demeaning searches on behalf of law enforcement."
The hospital board members have agreed to review and revise its internal policies governing law enforcement searches. The hospital's president and CEO James Valenti commented that his patients should not be treated "as prisoners" and instead should be treated "with respect and dignity."
"We also intend to make sure that area law enforcement agencies understand that [the hospital's] only concern when patients are brought to us in their custody is patient care," he said.
So, will the settlement make the lawsuit go away?
So far, the Border Patrol agents have not been held accountable; the claims against them remain pending, and a trial by jury has not commenced.
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