American Airlines blames 9-year-old girl for not detecting flight attendant’s hidden bathroom camera

By Charlie Sawyer

Published May 24, 2024 at 11:35 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

American Airlines is currently being sued in a Texas court after one of its former flight attendants, 37-year-old Estes Carter Thompson III, used a recording device to film multiple girls between the ages of seven and 11 years old in an aeroplane bathroom. As part of its so-called defence, the airline is now alleging that one of the victims involved, a 9-year-old girl, should have known that there was a recording device in the bathroom.

According to The Independent, following Thompson’s arrest, the family of the 9-year-old victim sued the airline, claiming that it should have been aware of the flight attendant’s danger to passengers.

While it’s known that the offender filmed multiple girls, this particular incident allegedly occurred in January 2023. The unnamed child and her family had been on a flight from their home in Austin, Texas, on the way to Disneyland.

One of the lawyers representing American Airlines implied in a recent court filing that the girl should have been aware that she was being recorded. Indeed, the lawyer’s exact words were: “Any injuries or illnesses alleged to have been sustained by Plaintiff, Mary Doe, were proximately caused by Plaintiff’s own fault and negligence, were proximately caused by Plaintiff’s use of the compromised lavatory, which she knew or should have known contained a visible and illuminated recording device.”

The family of the victim were understandably shocked and appalled by the airline’s argument. In a statement, the young girl’s mother said: “Instead of taking responsibility for this awful event, American Airlines is actually blaming our daughter for being filmed. How in good conscience could they even make such a suggestion? It both shocks and angers us. American Airlines has no shame.”

Days after the initial comment made headlines across the globe, the airline has now made a later statement clarifying that placing blame on the child was an “error.” A spokesperson for American Airlines told the publication: “Our outside legal counsel retained with our insurance company made an error in this filing. The included defence is not representative of our airline and we have directed it be amended this morning. We do not believe this child is at fault and we take the allegations involving a former team member very seriously.”

Another purported victim of Thomspon’s was a 14-year-old girl who noticed that an iPhone was recording her while she was using the bathroom. This action ultimately led to the flight attendant’s arrest at the beginning of 2024 and the subsequent lawsuit.

Thompson, who is currently in federal custody, pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted sexual exploitation of children, and one count of possession of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor, as reported by The Boston Herald.

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