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Woman Told to Ditch Bra to Enter Court

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2007/10/05 12:54

Security guards refused to allow a woman into a federal courthouse until she removed a bra that triggered a metal detector. Lori Plato said she and her husband, Owen Plato, were stunned when U.S. Marshals Service employees asked her to remove her bra after the underwire supports set off the alarm.

"I asked if I could go into the bathroom because they didn't have a privacy screen and no women security officers were available," Plato said Wednesday. "They said, 'No.'

"I wasn't carrying a shank in my bra. If it's so dangerous, why did they give it back and let me put it on?"

Patrick McDonald, the U.S. Marshal in Boise, said appropriate security protocols were followed in the Sept. 20 matter, and guards suggested she simply remove the bra in her car outside, or find a restaurant bathroom.

"She's inflating it," McDonald said. "All of a sudden she just took it off. It wasn't anything we wanted to happen and it wasn't anything we asked for her to do. She did it so fast."

Plato, of Bonners Ferry, said she was parked on a busy street and wasn't familiar with downtown Coeur d'Alene businesses. So her husband held up his coat to shield her from the rest of the people in the courthouse lobby while she removed her bra underneath her shirt.

Generally, McDonald said, undergarments aren't considered a danger to security.

"I don't think they're considered a weapon, really, the last time I looked," he said.

He declined to discuss other ways the federal courthouse guards could have screened Plato for weapons.

Plato wants the Marshals Service to apologize and stop forcing women to disrobe.

"It was very humiliating," her husband, Owen Plato, said. "They could have handled it with a much more professional attitude."


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