American Airlines Flight Attendant Arrested for Attempted Video Recording of Minor in Airplane Bathroom

An American Airlines flight attendant, Estes Carter Thompson III, has been arrested and is being held in custody pending trial on suspicion of attempting to secretly video record a 14-year-old female passenger using an airplane bathroom. Thompson, 37, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was apprehended after police discovered recordings of four other minor female passengers using lavatories on a previous flight he had worked on.

During an initial appearance in federal court in Boston, Thompson agreed to voluntary confinement until trial. He did not enter a plea, and his appointed lawyer declined to comment on his potential plea. The incident in question occurred on September 2, 2023, during a flight from Charlotte to Boston. Investigators revealed that Thompson directed the 14-year-old passenger to the first-class lavatory, claiming it was unoccupied. Before she entered, he informed her that he needed to wash his hands and mentioned a broken toilet seat. Once the girl entered the bathroom, she noticed red stickers on the underside of the toilet seat lid, which was in the open position. Hidden beneath the stickers was Thompson’s iPhone, set up to record a video.

The young passenger managed to capture a photo of the stickers and the concealed iPhone before leaving the lavatory. Thompson immediately reentered the bathroom. Upon landing, law enforcement officers met the plane at the gate. The family of the 14-year-old has announced their intention to sue the airline, and American Airlines stated that Thompson was removed from service immediately following the incident and has not worked since.

Further investigation into Thompson’s iCloud account revealed four additional instances between January and August 2023 where he recorded minors using lavatories on aircraft. The victims in these recordings were aged 7, 9, 11, and 14 at the time. Thompson now faces charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child sexual abuse material depicting a prepubescent minor. If convicted, he could face a minimum sentence of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison for the former charge, and a minimum of five years and up to 20 years for the latter. Both charges also carry the possibility of a lifetime of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and restitution.

Author: CrimeDoor

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