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TSA offers apology after Amy Van Dyken says she was 'humiliated' by agent in Denver

The TSA has apologized to former Olympian Amy Van Dyken-Rouen after she said she was "humiliated" during a full-body search in Denver.
/ Source: TODAY

The Transportation Security Administration has apologized to Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen after the former swimmer complained on social media about an intrusive pat-down at Denver airport.

Van Dyken-Rouen, who uses a wheelchair, was making her though security at Denver International Airport over the weekend when she said a male agent performed an uncomfortable search of her "breasts, buttocks and crotch ... in full view of other passengers," Phoenix's KTAR News reported.

When she protested, the agent told her that the full-body search was necessary and that previous procedures she had encountered on other trips — TSA officers swabbing her hands, feet and wheelchair but not patting her — were incorrect.

"He (the supervisor) literally said it to me and he said it this way, 'You know, whatever has happened in the rest of the country, and even in Denver, before this, they are wrong,'" she told KTAR.

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Van Dyken-Rouen shared the experience on Instagram, calling it "humiliating."

"With the positive in my journey, there is also negative. Need to make changes for all in (wheelchairs)," she captioned the image.

A six-time gold medalist at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, Van Dyken-Rouen, 43, was paralyzed from the waist down in an ATV crash in 2014.

Her wheelchair makes it impossible for her to go through traditional screening procedures when flying.

Shortly after Van Dyken-Rouen posted about the incident, the TSA issued a statement saying a mistake was made and that the agent did not follow "correct screening protocols."

"TSA works closely with the disability community to develop screening procedures that integrate the unique needs of those with disabilities or medical issues into the process," the TSA said.

"TSA’s federal security director has reached out to Ms. Van Dyken. The officers involved are undergoing retraining, and TSA Denver is providing refresher training to all of its officers as well."

In a follow-up post, Van Dyken-Rouen thanked the agency for the swift response and "for making sure they are trained for people with disabilities."

"I'm not a lightning rod, but I can and will speak out to help others who are afraid to speak out," she said.

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She told KMGH News in Denver that she hopes that the privacy of fliers with similar disabilities is respected in the future.

"It's really sad, I just want to help other people out who don't have a voice," she said. "Just fair treatment for everybody, respect for everybody, that's all we need."