A flight attendant was arrested after a teenager found a hidden camera in the bathroom

A flight attendant was arrested after a teenager found a hidden camera in the bathroom

Federal agents arrested an American Airlines flight attendant in Virginia on Thursday and accused him of recording young girls in airplane bathrooms, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts announced.

Estes Carter Thompson III, 36, was charged with sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor. He was arrested in September by a 14-year-old girl he tried to record in a bathroom, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by HuffPost, Thompson approached the girl during a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston.

American Airlines planes sit on the runway of LaGuardia Airport on January 11, 2023 in New York.
American Airlines planes sit on the runway of LaGuardia Airport on January 11, 2023 in New York.

Thompson noticed that the girl was waiting outside the plane’s toilet, so he offered her the first-class toilet and accompanied her there. Thompson then entered the toilet before the girl, saying he had to wash his hands, and when he got out he told her the toilet seat was broken.

According to the affidavit, the 14-year-old “felt that the amount of time” he spent on the toilet seemed “a little too long just to wash his hands.”

The girl saw red stickers under the toilet seat cover with handwritten words stating “catering equipment out of service,” “removed from service” and “seat broken,” according to the affidavit.

Photo taken by 14-year-old girl on American Airlines via Paul T. Llewellyn
Photo taken by 14-year-old girl on American Airlines via Paul T. Llewellyn

According to the affidavit, when the 14-year-old turned to flush the toilet, she noticed an iPhone peeking out from behind her. Posters. The girl took a photo of the iPhone and stickers before leaving, and Thompson allegedly immediately entered the bathroom After she left.

The girl showed her parents a photo of the hidden iPhone when she returned to her seat, according to the affidavit. Her mother ran to the toilet to find the stickers and her iPhone gone.

Her father confronted the flight attendants on the plane, including Thompson, and demanded to see his iPhone, agents said. The father “saw the color drain” from Thompson’s face, according to the affidavit is reading.

After his father confronted him… Thompson allegedly retreated to the toilet with his phone and remained there until the flight landed.

Law enforcement on the ground met with Thompson and asked to search his phone. According to the affidavit, police who searched Thompson’s iPhone suspected he had restored the phone to factory settings. However, a search of Thompson’s iCloud account revealed that he recorded young girls using the plane’s restroom at least four different times, the affidavit said.

The girls recorded by Thompson were ages 7, 9, 11 and 14 when the photos were taken, between January and August 2023.

Case documents said police found more than 50 photos of the 9-year-old girl, including photos of her from behind and close-ups taken while she was sleeping during the flight. As well as child sexual abuse material generated by artificial intelligence.

A search of Thompson’s bag also found the stickers the 14-year-old had noticed.

In a statement to HuffPost, American Airlines said the company takes “these allegations very seriously.”

“We have fully cooperated with law enforcement authorities in their investigation, as nothing is more important than the safety and security of our customers and team,” the statement read.

Thompson has been banned from working for the airline since September and has not worked since, according to the airline.

Paul T. Llewellyn, an attorney representing the 14-year-old’s family in a lawsuit against the airline, told HuffPost in an email that the incident “should never have been allowed and should never happen again.”

“It is also shocking to hear that he assaulted at least five minors while flying on an American plane,” Llewellyn said. “While the criminal justice system must now take its course against the flight attendant, it remains to be seen whether American Airlines will now hold some measure of responsibility to the families for what happened.”

(Tags for translation) Crime

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