Male flight attendant, 37, secretly recorded nine-year-old girl in bathroom of American Airlines flight, new lawsuit claims after he was accused of filming 14-year-old
The family of a second girl has accused a flight attendant of secretly recording her while she was using the bathroom aboard an American Airlines flight.
Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, was arrested in January after a 14-year-old North Carolina girl noticed an iPhone taped to the toilet on the flight he was working on and alerted her parents.
The FBI then found other victims after searching his devices and iCloud. Among the abuse images were some of a nine-year-old girl from Texas whose parents are now suing Thomson and American Airlines, according to documents seen by DailyMail.com.
In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, the girl’s parents allege that in January 2023, Thompson took images of the girl while she was using the bathroom of the flight en route to Los Angeles. The girl and her family were on their way to Disney World and a gymnastics competition.
The images, retrieved by the FBI from Thompson’s iCloud, showed the girl’s face, buttocks and genitalia, according to the complaint.
Flight attendant Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, has been sued by the family of a second victim – a nine-year-old girl he allegedly recorded in the bathroom aboard an American Airlines flight
In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, the girl’s parents claim Thompson took images of the girl in January 2023 while she was using the bathroom of the flight en route to Los Angeles (stock photo)
‘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. Since then, our daughter has struggled with fear and anxiety,” the girl’s family said in a statement to DailyMail.com.
‘We are doing everything we can to support her at this traumatic time. An important part of our family’s healing is making sure 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 that nothing like this ever happens to another family.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to American Airlines for comment on this story.
Police previously said Thomson, of North Carolina, had recordings of four other underage female passengers using restrooms on a plane he previously worked on.
Thompson was charged with attempted child sexual exploitation and possession of child sexual abuse images depicting a prepubescent minor.
Investigators said the 14-year-old got up about halfway through the Sept. 2, 2023, flight from Charlotte to Boston to use the main cabin restroom closest to her seat, only to find it occupied.
Thompson then told her the first-class restroom was unoccupied and escorted her there, investigators said. Before she entered the bathroom, Thompson allegedly told her he needed to wash his hands and that the toilet seat was broken.
After leaving, the teenager entered the bathroom and saw red stickers on the bottom of the toilet seat lid, which was in the open position, saying ‘CATERING EQUIPMENT INOPERATIVE’, ‘REMOVED FROM SERVICE’ and ‘SEAT BROKEN’ with handwritten in black ink on one of the stickers, according to court documents.
Under the stickers, Thompson hid his iPhone to record a video, investigators said. The girl used her phone to take a photo of the stickers and hidden iPhone before leaving. Thompson then immediately went back into the bathroom.
The girl told her parents, and her father confronted Thompson, who had locked himself in the restroom with his iPhone three to five minutes before the flight’s descent, investigators said.
The minor’s parents also informed other flight attendants and the captain was notified. The captain then contacted law enforcement on the ground.
When the flight landed, police said Thompson’s phone may have been factory reset while he was locked in the bathroom.
The teenager, 14, went into the bathroom and saw red stickers on the bottom of the toilet seat cover which read: ‘CATERING EQUIPMENT NOT WORKING’, ‘REMOVED FROM SERVICE’ and ‘SEAT BROKEN’ handwritten in black ink on one of the stickers
A search of Thompson’s bag turned up 11 ‘INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT’ stickers, investigators said. A search of his iCloud account allegedly revealed four additional instances between January and August 2023 in which Thompson recorded a minor using the restroom on an airplane.
Those depicted in the recordings were 7, 9, 11 and 14 years old at the time, investigators said. More than 50 images of an unaccompanied 9-year-old were also found in his account, including close-ups of her face as she slept in her seat.
The 14-year-old’s family also filed a lawsuit against Thomson and the airline.
Police also say they found ‘images of AI-generated child pornography’ on Thompson’s iCloud account.
American Airlines issued a statement saying they take the allegation very seriously. They also said the flight attendant was ‘immediately suspended from duty following the September 2023 incident’ and has not worked since.
“They do not reflect our airline or our core mission of caring for people,” the statement said. ‘We have fully cooperated with law enforcement in their investigation, as there is nothing more important than the safety and security of our customers and team.’