The parents of the 9-year-old girl claim that they only found out about the incident after F.B.I. agents showed up at their home with news that a former American Airlines flight attendant had pictures and videos of their daughter on his iCloud account.
A recently-filed lawsuit claims that an American Airlines flight attendant attempted to record an underage girl using a cell phone taped to a toilet seat.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the parents of the 9-year-old girl only learned of the incident after F.B.I. agents investigating former flight attendant Estes Carter Thompson III showed up at their home.
Thompson, adds the Morning News, was arrested in January after a 14-year-old girl found his cell phone hidden in an aircraft lavatory. She, and her family, have already filed their own lawsuit against Thompson and the airline.
Paul Llewellyn, an attorney representing the family of the 9-year-old, said that the F.B.I.’s arrival heralded the beginning of “every parent’s worst nightmare.”
KVUE-ABC reports that the alleged victim, referred to by the pseudonym “Mary Doe” in court documents, was traveling from Austin to Los Angeles with her parents when the incident occurred.
Before going to the restroom, the complaint claims, Doe was stopped by Thompson under the pretext that he needed to “clean up a mess” inside the lavatory. Thompson then walked into the restroom, closed the door, and then exited a short time later.
The 9-year-old’s family did not know, or suspect, that Thompson had recorded her until the F.B.I. contacted them, saying that they had found pictures and videos of Doe on Thompson’s iCloud account.
In a statement provided to The Dallas Morning News, the child’s parents said that the revelation has had a profound impact on their daughter, who is now struggling with “fear and anxiety.”
“It felt like we were living in a nightmare when the F.B.I. showed up on our doorstep to tell us that our daughter had been secretly filmed by an American Airlines flight attendant during a family trip to Disneyland,” the family told the Morning News. “Since then, our daughter has struggled with fear and anxiety.”
“We are doing everything we can to support her during this traumatic time,” they said. “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,” the family said in their statement.
The lawsuit seeks assorted damages in excess of $1 million.
“The child has suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the incident[,] including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, fearfulness, insomnia, and nightmares,” the lawsuit alleges. “This emotional distress has had a fundamental impact on her interpersonal relationships, her schooling, and her ability to function in the world.”