A San Diego father has filed a complaint against the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, alleging officers strip-searched his 16-year-old daughter at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Scott Caitlin says the experience has marked his daughter's life forever.
"She’s never going to be the same. They stole her innocence. And beyond that, I want the people responsible held accountable," he said.
The teenager was returning to the U.S. from Mexico with her two adult sisters after visiting their grandfather in Tijuana on Sept. 5 when the incident occurred, according to Caitlin. A K-9 alerted officers to the family and they were sent to secondary inspection.
According to the complaint, a female officer inappropriately searched Caitlin's daughter for possible contraband.
Catilin said his daughter was asked to take off her clothes and was inspected by the officer.
He added that CBP employees did not have parental consent to search a minor because he was never contacted.
"I was at home during that time, sitting right next to my house phone, literally…not a phone call, nothing about a detention, they didn't tell me anything," Caitlin said.
Two days after the incident, Caitlin sent a formal complaint to federal authorities.
The letter, in part, read:
"This letter serves as my formal complaint for the isolation, sexual assault and battery, strip search and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress perpetrated by agents of Homeland Security upon my minor child..."
In response, the CBP sent a statement, which read, in part:
"Due to privacy laws, CBP is unable to speak about specific cases, but in general terms, if during the course of our inspection there are enforcement concerns, CBP officers follow standard protocols to resolve the issue at hand and complete our national security mission."
The family and their attorney will meet Friday with the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the case.
See coverage from Telemundo 20 here.