LOS ANGELES: Miserabilist songsmith Morrissey claims he was sexually assaulted by a US airport security guard who groped his penis — but officials insisted Thursday they were following normal procedures.
The British former The Smiths frontman said the alleged incident happened on Monday as he prepared to board a flight to London at San Francisco International Airport.
“I went through the usual airport security procedure including the stand-up ‘scanner’, and all was well — no bleeps and nothing unusual,” Morrissey said on his fan website, True to You.
“Before I could gather my belongings from the usual array of trays I was approached by an ‘airport security officer’ who stopped me, crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles.
“He quickly moved away as an older ‘airport security officer’ approached,” he said, adding that two British Airways “special services employees” accompanying him “assured me that a complaint was worthwhile.”
He therefore filed a sexual assault complaint, he said.
But a spokesman for the Transport Security Administration (TSA) said Thursday that security camera footage confirmed that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
“TSA takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and strives to treat every passenger with dignity and respect,” TSA spokesman Mike England said.
“Upon review of closed circuit TV footage, TSA determined that the supervised officer followed standard operating procedures in the screening of this individual.”
An official explained that the arrival of a second person to screen Morrissey was normal.
“During the screening process, if an anomaly is detected, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing,” said the official.
“TSA works with numerous groups to continuously refine and enhance our procedures to improve the passenger experience while also ensuring the safety of the traveling public.”