Feds will pay $475,000 to settle “illegal body cavity search” case

From ArsTechnica:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will now have to pay “Jane Doe,” a New Mexico woman, $475,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in December 2013. In the suit, Jane Doe alleged that she was detained at the US-Mexico border and subjected to an illegal cavity search by nearby hospital personnel. Authorities believed she had drugs on her person, but they found nothing after six hours of intimate searches.

This case is separate from, but has remarkable similarities to, a pending case that was filed last month in Arizona by another woman, Ashley Cervantes.

Doe’s attorneys are spread across two activist organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU of New Mexico. The team previously won a $1.1M settlement on her behalf to settle related claims filed against the University Medical Center of El Paso. Under the terms of the new settlement with the feds, the two ACLU organizations will send advisory letters to hospitals from San Diego to Houston, notifying them of their rights and responsibilities. In addition, hundreds of CBP agents will have to undergo retraining.

“Doctors and law enforcement officers are entrusted with the sacred responsibility of looking after our health and safety, and Ms. Doe’s unspeakable ordeal represents an unforgivable violation of that trust,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a Thursday statement. “These atrocities were committed with our money and in our name, and it’s not enough to hold those who committed them to account. We must also ensure …

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