J. D. Heyes
March 29, 2013
Increasingly, Texas is one of a handful of states that are becoming known as bastions of liberty in a nation increasingly dominated by Federalists and authoritarians – men and women appointed in positions of bureaucratic power who operate without fear of reprisal from on high in Washington, D.C.
So it’s not surprising that one of the most recent examples of what justice is supposed to look like occurred in the Lone Star State, where freedom remains in vogue as long as you obey the constitutional rules governing society.
CBS-11, a Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate, reported March 22 that the affiliate learned a pair of Texas State Troopers were indicted by a Dallas County grand jury for allegedly performing an illegally invasive body cavity search along a roadside and for theft involving two North Texas women some months ago.
The station said one of the troopers, Kelley Helleson, who is female, was charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of official oppression. She has already testified before the grand jury.
‘Invasive’ search turns up nothing but humiliation
Helleson was seen on her patrol vehicle’s dash-cam searching body cavities – front and back – of the two women along an exit ramp on the Bush Turnpike in Irving, Texas, last summer, the station reported. In the aftermath of the searches, which generated no small amount of controversy at the time, the Texas Department of Public Safety fired Helleson.
CBS-11 went on to say that a second trooper, David Farrell, was charged with theft after one woman said her prescription bottle of the painkiller hydrocodone went missing after she was searched. Farrell initially stopped the women after seeing one of them toss a cigarette out of their car window.
Ferrell was suspended at some point following the stop and DPS says he remains suspended pending the outcome of an administrative investigation.
Reports said the troopers were searching the women for illegal drugs but did not find any.
CBS-11 said the women testified before the grand jury March 22 but did not comment to reporters following their appearances. Scott Palmer, the pair’s attorney, did say; however, that he believes both troopers broke the law.
“There is no textbook that would mandate or authorize this type of search. We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, this is so outlandish and so outside the bounds of what police officers are allowed to do,” he told reporters.
In the weeks following the traffic stop and search, the women filed a lawsuit against both troopers, as well as the head of the DPS.
The officers maintain they are innocent. Robert Baskett, an attorney for Helleson, says she is not guilty of anything and that she did not assault or fondle the women. He further said she has passed a polygraph test and is currently appealing her firing. We’ll see how this all turns out because in our system, they are innocent until proven guilty, of course.
TSA is the place to be for a groper
But if Helleson is convicted, a number of readers on the CBS-11 website thought she could find work – and have a thriving career – feeling up airline passengers as a Transportation Security Administration officer. That’s not a bad suggestion, considering the TSA is an out-of-control federal agency whose workers commits serial violations of this sort and worse on a daily basis. Here are just a few of them:
— Karen Kaplan, the assistant editor of popular science journal Nature, claimed she was molested and sexually assaulted by agents at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia (http://www.naturalnews.com). Later in a column, she recounted the incident:
The search involved highly invasive groping and probing of my private areas. As part of the procedure, which took five to six minutes, the TSA agent reached into my skirt, exploring front to back … I am horrified and disgusted by the experience — a clear example of absolute abuse of absolute power. I feel violated and raped.
— Amy Alkon, a popular columnist and talk show host whose work has appeared in more than 100 newspapers, says she was also “groped” by screeners at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City; she said agents inappropriately felt her breasts and vagina. (http://amyalkon.mensnewsdaily.com)
— Several breast cancer survivors came forward last fall to reveal sordid details about being mistreated and humiliated by screeners at various U.S. airports over a period of years. One woman, Marcia Deitrick of Independence, MO., who underwent a double mastectomy, said after a TSA scanner found an “anomaly” in her breast area, she was subjected to a very invasive pat down by screeners. She tried to explain she had two breast implants after her surgery but TSA screeners would hear none of it; they searched (and touched) her breasts anyway. Ditto for Susan Grose of Overland Park, KS., who said her experience left her in tears.
This article was posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 at 5:23 am