88-Year-Old Tells Story Similar To 85-Year-Old Leonore Zimmerman

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lenore Zimmerman, 85, was angry and embarrassed after what she claims was a strip search at Kennedy Airport.

Now another woman in her 80s said she was exposed one day before at the very same terminal. From her home in Sunrise, Fla., 88-year-old Ruth Sherman said she knows for a fact senior citizens are being violated at a screening checkpoint at JFK.

“I felt like I was invaded,” she told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Sherman said a week-long Thanksgiving holiday with family in New York ended with an ordeal that started when the screeners wanted to check the bulge from Sherman’s colostomy bag.

“This is private for me. It’s bad enough that I have it,” she said. “I had to pull from my sweatpants and I had to pull my underwear, my underwear down.”

“You don’t do that anybody,” she added. “I felt like I was invaded.”

She said she initially complained to JetBlue and told her family, but is now going public after watching Zimmerman on television recounting a frighteningly similar tale of what she said was her strip search, at the same JetBlue terminal at JFK, one day later.

“They decide this 85-year-old lady needs to be strip searched,” Zimmerman said. “After they patted me down, they took me into a private room and they strip searched me. I said ‘why are you strip searching me? Do I like look a terrorist’?” she said.

Zimmerman said she was allowed to keep her top on.

Zimmerman, who lives most of the year in the Nassau County community of Long Beach and spends the winters in South Florida, said she will sue the Transportation Security Agency. She said she wanted a pat-down, that her defibrillator is why she cannot go through the machine, but that she never expected a strip search.

The TSA released a statement Sunday, apologizing to Zimmerman but disputing her story.

“TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening experience; however, TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols and a strip search did not occur in this case,” the statement read.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens wondered how the TSA can be so sure. He said with no cameras in the private screening rooms, it is a screener’s word against the passenger’s.

“It’s outrageous,” he said. “What they need to find out is exactly what happened and if someone crossed the line they need to be penalized.”

“I missed my flight and I had to wait two and a half hours for the next one,” Zimmerman said.

When she finally made it to her winter home in Coconut Creek, Fla., she called her son Bruce in Long Beach. He told CBS 2 the family plans to sue the TSA.

“I do want them to have some sort of consequence. I think the two agents that escorted or initiated the strip search should be terminated,” Bruce Zimmerman said.

Leonore Zimmerman will return to New York in early April, but admitted that she is nervous after her experience. Both Sherman and Zimmerman said many times seniors are too cooperative and afraid to speak up when humiliated. Sherman wants that to change.

CBS 2 contacted a TSA spokesman about Ruth Sherman’s alleged strip search and were told only that the TSA will research this new case.

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Comments (7)
  1. Henry Bussman says:

    I was Full Bodied searched on Nov 3rd at JFK. I have a pacemaker and asked not to go through the machine as directed by my physician. I had an ID card. I am 80 years old. I did not ask for this search, but my wife was told I asked for this.

  2. Tex Albritton says:

    I’m just waiting for those TSA pinkboys to pull something like that on a Marine’s mother, or a SEAL’s wife or child.

    Average life expectancy of TSA pinkboy — 5 seconds (or less.)

  3. Naomi Rhoads says:

    You get the agent’s name, you write down the location and time of day, and you say: I am now going to write down exactly what you are ordering me to do in your own words. I want you to know that this goes beyond the protocol of your job, and that you WILL have consequences and I WILL be suing your employer. Do you still wish to proceed?

    1. Reggie says:

      Seriously, do you really think thats all it takes? Are you living in la la land? They TSA poeple violate people on a regular basis. The TSA just denies that anything happened and the traveler is not telling the truth. Then the TSA offers retraining so the agents will be SURE to be sensitive regarding the travelers privacy. It’s all BS. File as many complaints as you want 99% of them are swept right under the rug. Wake up!

  4. Jackie Hammer says:

    What does TSA really mean? No, not T otally S tupid A gency but when ever you see the letters “TSA” remember that it really stands for= T ough S h*t A merica, because the majority of you jokers voted in to office a CEO of the most powerful nation on Earth, (well, was.) a man who never balanced a business spreadsheet, never had the pressure of making ends meet within a 5 year plan and probably never even pushed a broom. You got a “pretty boy” and no boy has no racial connotation in this comment except to infer inexperience and immaturity. Yeah T.S.A !,.. it is more important for you to get to point A from point B and to fly than to have freedom. You deserve this, others tries the only thing that sent shivers down the backs of these jokers, a boycott, they were the heros,..so bend over boys and girls, first it was the shoe bombers and you have to take off your shoes, the the underwear bomber and you get felt up or x-rayed, yep, body-packing bomber next, so bend over Americans and take it in the as*,..go ahead and bitch you comments to your hearts content, type your fingers blue, we at TSA we don’t care, T.S.A!, we are hiring proctologists to train our TSOs for the next phase! We have not changed,we will not change, we don’t give a damn about civil rights or the U.S. Constitution, we only got worse, and we will continue to get worse so as long as you let us!

    1. Reggie says:

      I can only hope that you are not allowing this to take place! I boycotted and will continue to boycott flying until the insane raping of the American Citizens is halted. I have contacted every politician I could and I contact them on a regular basis. I have been a strong opponent of the TSA and the radiated rape machines since they were installed in the airports. We need a national movement to stop this but the sheeple just fall in line and do what they are told. What the heck happened to Americans who stand up for their rights? I can only imagine what the TSA will require travelers to do 10 years from now. You’re probably right, so bend over ladies and gentleman the blue gloves will have lubricant on them for your full cavity search.

    2. Jules says:

      I don’t know why you’re blaming President Obama. This invasion of personal rights in the name of security began under President Bush, following 9/11.

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