Monday, June 17, 2024

American Airlines Blames 9-Year-Old For Not Knowing There Were Hidden Cameras In Bathroom

Last fall, a 14-year-old girl discovered a hidden camera in the bathroom while she was on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Boston.

She was one of four alleged victims between the ages of 7 and 14.

The young teen had noticed a phone camera’s flash coming from underneath the toilet seat. The area had been covered with a red sign, with the words ‘SEAT BROKEN.’ She took a photo of it and showed her parents.

Her father immediately confronted the flight attendants, demanding to know what was happening in the airline bathroom.

It was later determined that one of the flight attendants, 37-year-old Estes Carter Thompson III, had placed the recording device in the first-class bathroom to film girls, and that it had continued for several months.

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Former American Airlines flight attendent Estes Carter Thompson III was arrested in January 2024 and has been in federal custody since

According to court filings, he would direct those waiting for the airline bathroom to the one in the first-class area, where he had installed the camera.

After officials arrested Thompson, the FBI notified the family of a 9-year-old, whose videos were found on his phone. They had traveled from Texas to California on an American Airlines flight last year.

Both the families of the 14-year-old and the 9-year-old went on to sue the airline, as well as Thompson.

hidden camera
The hidden camera was discovered after the 14-year-old girl noticed a flash coming from below the toilet seat

In response to the lawsuit, however, the airlines’ lawyers blamed the 9-year-old for not knowing there was a recording device hidden underneath the toilet seat in the bathroom. Specifically, the court filing said any ‘illnesses or injuries sustained by plaintiff were caused by plaintiff’s own negligence and fault’ and that they had chosen to use the ‘compromised lavatory’.

The victims’ families were ‘angry’ and ‘outaged’ at the response. Paul Llewellyn, the family’s attorney, said he ‘cannot even envision a world where it would be appropriate to [blame] a 9-year-old for not knowing they were being filmed’.

The mother of the 9-year-old, who is understandably angry and shocked, said in a statement that ‘instead of taking responsibility for the incident, [American Airlines] are blaming their daughter for being recorded’. She described the airline as having ‘no shame’ and called the awful event ‘outrageous.’

Thompson, who was arrested shortly after the recording device was discovered, is currently in federal custody. He will be charged with one count of possession of photos of a prepubescent minor and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

Despite the evidence that was found on his personal phone, he has pleaded not guilty.

Airline Retreats After Blaming 9-Year-Old

American Airlines faced intense public and media backlash after their attorney’s statement on the matter was released. They have since backtracked on the court filing.

llewellyn
Lawyer Paul Llewellyn is representing the 9-year-old and her family in the case

On Wednesday, the airline released another statement, stating that their legal counsel and insurance company had ‘made a mistake’ in the filing and that the ‘defense is not representative of the company’.

They also said in the statement that they ‘do not believe the child is at fault’ for the incident and that they will be looking into the allegations involving the former flight attendant ‘very seriously.’

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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