Airline Sued Over Minors Secretly Filmed

Green lavatory sign in an airplane during flight | Image by supakitswn/Shutterstock

Two families are suing American Airlines after revelations that one of their former flight attendants was allegedly secretly filming minors in airplane lavatories.

The latest of two lawsuits targeting the major Fort-Worth-based commercial air carrier in connection with an alleged child sex predator incident was recently filed in Austin. The complaint is from the unnamed family of a 9-year-old girl who was allegedly secretly filmed while using the restroom facilities on an American Airlines flight from Austin to Los Angeles.

The family learned in December 2023 that images of their daughter’s face, genitalia, and buttocks had allegedly been found in the possession of Estes Carter Thompson III of North Carolina, a former American Airlines employee. As the family’s attorney, Paul Llewellyn, explained to The Dallas Morning News, the incident was “every parent’s worst nightmare.”

As previously covered in The Dallas Express, 36-year-old Thompson will soon be tried in federal court in Boston on charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.

Thompson came to the attention of federal authorities when a 14-year-old girl caught him allegedly trying to secretly film her while she was using the bathroom aboard an American Airlines flight on September 2, 2023. He had been working as a flight attendant at the time.

Upon the plane landing in Boston, he was arrested and his iCloud account was searched, allegedly leading to the discovery of secret recordings of four young girls between the ages of 7 and 14 using aircraft lavatories, as well as hundreds of images of AI-generated child pornography.

A lawsuit was filed against American Airlines by the 14-year-old girl’s family.

“I hope that American Airlines finally takes responsibility for their complete failure to protect these children,” said Llewellyn.

The family of the 9-year-old victim claimed that they now have grave concerns about her well-being, especially given that the private images of her could have been distributed anywhere.

“Since then, our daughter has struggled with fear and anxiety. We are doing everything we can to support her during this traumatic time,” the family said in a statement to the DMN.

“An important part of our family’s healing is making sure that the flight attendant and American Airlines are held accountable for what happened to our daughter. We hope that this lawsuit is the first step in making sure nothing like this ever happens to another family.”

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