NASHVILLE (CN) - Jail guards made a female visitor pull down her pants to prove that she was on her period, the woman claims in federal court.
Jane Doe sued Corrections Corporation of America and South Central Correctional Facility employees for unreasonable search and seizure on Thursday.
The anonymous plaintiff says their conduct was unconstitutional.
"Defendants, through their acts and omissions and pursuant to a custom carrying the force of law, required plaintiff to expose her unclothed genitalia to corrections officers to 'verify' that she was menstruating," the complaint states.
She was visiting an inmate at South Central last April when one officer asked about her "feminine sanitary napkin" that was sticking out of her pocket, the complaint says.
Doe told two officers that she was on her menstrual cycle and one replied, "But I'll have to make sure you are."
She was taken to a restroom, frisked for contraband, and was forced to pull down her pants for inspection, the plaintiff claims.
"Plaintiff pulled her pants and underwear down, exposing her genitalia. Defendant [Jane Roe] Garska visually inspected plaintiff's exposed genitalia and looked upon her vaginal area," the complaint states. "Defendant Garska positioned herself so that her eyes were approximately level with plaintiff's hips and unclothed pelvic area."
After Garska "was satisfied that plaintiff was menstruating," Doe was able to leave the restroom and allowed to visit the inmate, according to the lawsuit.
She says she later called the jail's chief of security but he told her that what she experienced was standard procedure.
"Plaintiff should not be forced to make the intolerable choice between abstaining from visiting an inmate in prison because she is on her period and visiting the prison with the risk of being subjected to another humiliating and degrading search of her exposed genitalia," the complaint states.
Doe seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
She is represented by Tricia Herzfeld of Ozment Law in Nashville.
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