NATIONAL NEWS

American Airlines flight attendant arrested for filming minors in aircraft bathrooms, feds say

Jan 19, 2024, 2:44 PM

FILE - American Airlines planes are parked at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 31, 2020, i...

FILE - American Airlines planes are parked at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 31, 2020, in Imperial, Pa. An American Airlines flight attendant from Charlotte is accused of filming minors in aircraft bathrooms.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, file)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, file)

(CNN) — An American Airlines flight attendant from Charlotte is accused of filming minors in aircraft bathrooms.

Investigators said Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, of Charlotte, is charged with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography.

Court documents reveal Thompson is accused of recording or attempting to record a 14-year-old girl in September of last year using a bathroom on a plane from Charlotte bound for Boston.

Thompson was arrested Thursday in Lynchburg, Virginia. Authorities say he will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.

“The deeply disturbing conduct alleged here is something no parent or child should ever have to worry about when they travel. Mr. Thompson allegedly used his position to prey on and surreptitiously record innocent children, including unaccompanied minors, while in a vulnerable state aboard flights he was working,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy.

“After the minor victim had been waiting a short time, Thompson allegedly approached her, told her that the first-class lavatory was unoccupied and escorted her toward first class. Before the minor victim entered the lavatory, Thompson allegedly told her that he needed to wash his hands and that the lavatory’s toilet seat was broken and briefly entered the lavatory,” a news release from the Department of Justice detailed.

The release adds, “After Thompson exited the lavatory, the minor victim entered and observed red stickers on the underside of the toilet seat lid, which was in the open position, that stated, ‘INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT’ and ‘REMOVE FROM SERVICE,’ and ‘SEAT BROKEN’ was hand-written in black ink on one of the stickers. It is alleged that, beneath the red stickers, Thompson had concealed his iPhone to record a video. The minor victim used her phone to take a picture of the red stickers and the concealed iPhone she found in the lavatory before exiting, at which time Thompson allegedly re-entered it immediately.”

The parents notified other flight attendants

Court documents say when the minor returned to her seat, she informed her parents of what she saw. The parents reported the matter to other flight attendants, who notified the captain. Law enforcement was notified.

The victim’s father confronted Thompson, who shortly thereafter, locked himself in the lavatory with his iPhone for three to five minutes prior to the flight’s descent, according to the DOJ.

“Upon the flight’s arrival at Boston’s Logan Airport, law enforcement observed that Thompson’s iPhone may have been restored to factory settings. It is alleged that a subsequent search of Thompson’s suitcase was found to contain 11 ‘INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT’ stickers, like those observed by the minor victim on the back of the toilet seat,” a news release said.

Thompson is also accused of recording four other young girls — ages 7, 9, 11 and 14 — who were passengers using bathrooms on planes he had previously worked. The DOJ says images of those minors were found on Thompson’s iCloud account, and more than 50 images were found.

Thompson could face a maximum of 50 years in prison.

According to the DOJ, all minor victims involved in this matter have been identified, and their families have been contacted by law enforcement.

It is further alleged that hundreds of images of AI-generated child pornography were also found stored on Thompson’s iCloud account.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE: Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday, June 20, 2...

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

12 hours ago

A SkyWest Airlines jet approaches Salt Lake International Airport on Sept. 24, 2022. SkyWest announ...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Flights between St. George and Los Angeles to resume after 4-year delay

St. George-based SkyWest Airlines announced this week that daily flights between St. George Regional Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will return this fall, through United Express, one of SkyWest's different airline service partners.

18 hours ago

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victi...

Brian Carlson

Supreme Court upholds gun law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victims of domestic violence. The law prevents people with a domestic violence restraining order from having a gun.

1 day ago

Recount observers watch ballots during a Milwaukee hand recount of Presidential votes at the Wiscon...

Ken Ritter, Associated Press

Fake elector case in Nevada dismissed over venue question, state attorney general vows appeal

A Nevada judge has dismissed a criminal indictment against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election.

2 days ago

The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for ...

Associated Press

Bodies of Air Force colonel and Utah man are recovered after their plane crashed in an Alaska lake

The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for the Alaskan Command, have been recovered after their small plane plunged into an Alaska lake.

2 days ago

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the ...

Jen Christensen, CNN

FDA sign-off on menthol e-cigarettes ‘flies in the face of public health,’ anti-tobacco groups say

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the first non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products to get the agency’s sign-off. The decision drew harsh criticism from pediatricians and anti-tobacco groups.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

American Airlines flight attendant arrested for filming minors in aircraft bathrooms, feds say