Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 24, 2012

Mother found guilty in airport pat-down case


"Telling a police officer your opinion, even in strong language, to me that's a First Amendment right," Horst told reporters.

According to an affidavit, Abbott first refused to allow her daughter — then 14 — to go through a body scan machine, saying she didn't want "someone to see our bodies naked."

Abbott and her daughter went through a metal detector and TSA Officer Karen King was sent to conduct a pat-down. King testified that before the pat-down, Abbott yelled in her face that she didn't want anyone "touching her daughter's crotch."

Abbott was accompanying her daughter to the gate but not flying herself. She eventually allowed her daughter to undergo the pat-down, but then refused one for herself. By that point, airport police officer Jeff Nolen had been called and he testified that he asked her several times to calm down, but she wouldn't.

"You're not putting your (expletive) hands on me, this is (expletive)," he recalled Abbott saying.

Nolen said he then arrested Abbott, who he said continued to curse and call officers pedophiles. Abbott had lived in Clarksville when she was charged and has since moved to Texas.

"She gave him no option," district attorney King said Tuesday. "She put him in that position with her behavior."

During her testimony, Abbott acknowledged that she did say a few curse words, but said she wasn't in anyone's face and had a "normal conversation" about what she believed to be inappropriate about the pat-downs.

Earlier Tuesday, Horst used a surveillance video of what happened to support his claim that Abbott was the one being yelled at and that she didn't create a distraction. The video, which didn't have audio, did show Nolen speaking to Abbott close up and making some hand motions. It also showed people walking around Abbott and the officers.

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