A disturbing federal lawsuit alleges that for years, female recruits were required to undergo pelvic exams performed by a male doctor in order to be hired to the Nebraska State Patrol. The suit, filed by State Trooper Brienne Splittgerber, led Gov. Pete Ricketts to order an investigation into the matter, the Omaha World-Herald reports. The lawsuit alleges that female recruits were required to be naked from the waist down in order to undergo a vaginal and rectal exam, which Splittgerber says she was told was to check for hernias. The suit says male recruits were not made to undergo the same exams, with just one possible exception. A State Patrol spokesperson says no recruits have been subjected to the exams since December 2016, per the AP.
Splittgerber says after her exam in 2014, her family doctor told her the exam had been medically unnecessary. An OB-GYN explains to the AP that, in order to check for a hernia, there would be no need to undress or to have the "genital or anal area" probed. Splittgerber complained to her superiors and was told an investigation was underway, but her lawsuit says nothing was done for three years. It also accuses officials of attempting a cover-up. "Subjecting the plaintiff and other female trooper candidates to a medically unnecessary and sexually invasive procedure is outrageous conduct [that] goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is utterly intolerable in a civilized community," says the lawsuit. The Nebraska attorney general's office will defend the patrol against the lawsuit.