Flight Attendant Accused Of Filming Minor In Bathroom Sued By Prior Victim

By Jason Hall

February 8, 2024

Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office

Former American Airlines flight attendant Estes Carter Thompson III, who arrested for recording a 14-year-old girl in a plane bathroom, is now being sued by the family of a 9-year-old girl later found to be one of his prior victims.

The 9-year-old victim's parents claim the incident took place during a flight to Los Angeles in January 2023.

“It felt like we were living in a nightmare when the FBI showed up on our doorstep to tell us that our daughter had been secretly filmed by an American Airlines flight attendant,” the victim's family said in a statement to the Daily Mail.

“Since then, our daughter has struggled with fear and anxiety. We are doing everything we can to support her during this traumatic time,” they added. “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.”

Thompson, 37, of Charlotte, was arrested on January 18 and charged with attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor. The former flight attendant allegedly filmed the 14-year-old while working on the crew of a flight from Charlotte to Boston in September 2023, the news release states.

Thompson allegedly approached the girl as she waited for an occupied bathroom in the main cabin, at which point he escorted her to a first-class bathroom before saying he needed to wash his hands and claiming that the toilet seat was broken. The girl entered the bathroom shortly after and noticed red stickers on the underside of an open toilet seat lid stating, “INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT” and “REMOVE FROM SERVICE,” according to prosecutors.

Authorities found 11 stickers similar to the ones spotted by the girl inside Thompson's suitcase and a search of his iCloud account found four recordings of children between the ages of seven and 14, including the 9-year-old victim, all of whom were using the bathroom on airplanes, reported to be filmed between January and August 2023.

The 37-year-old was "immediately withheld from service" and hasn't worked for American Airlines since the incident took place, the company said in a statement to CNN following his arrest.

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