The family of a second girl has accused a flight attendant of secretly filming her while she used the bathroom aboard an American Airlines flight.
Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, was arrested in January after a 14-year-old girl from North Carolina noticed an iPhone attached to the toilet on the flight he was working on and alerted her parents.
The FBI then found additional victims after searching his devices and iCloud. The abuse images included some of a 9-year-old girl from Texas, whose parents are now suing both Thomson and American Airlines, according to documents seen by .
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the girl's parents allege that Thompson photographed the girl in January 2023 while she was using the restroom on the flight to Los Angeles. The girl and her family were on their way to Disney World and a gymnastics competition.
The images recovered by the FBI from Thompson's iCloud showed the girl's face, buttocks and genitals, according to the complaint.
Flight attendant Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, has been sued by the family of a second victim – a 9-year-old girl he allegedly recorded in the bathroom aboard an American Airlines flight
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the girl's parents allege that Thompson photographed the girl in January 2023 while she was using the restroom on the flight to Los Angeles (stock image)
“It felt like we were living in a nightmare when the FBI showed up on our doorstep and told us that our daughter had been secretly filmed by an American Airlines flight attendant. “Our daughter has struggled with fear and anxiety ever since,” the girl's family said in a statement to .
“We are doing everything we can to support her during this traumatic time.” An important part of our family's healing is ensuring that the flight attendant and American Airlines are held accountable for what happened to our daughter . “We hope this lawsuit is the first step to ensure this never happens to another family.”
has reached out to American Airlines for comment on this story.
Police previously said Thomson, of North Carolina, had footage of four other underage female passengers using the restrooms of a plane he had previously worked on.
Thompson was charged with attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child sexual abuse images depicting a prepubescent minor.
Investigators said that about midway through the flight from Charlotte to Boston on Sept. 2, 2023, the 14-year-old got up to use the main cabin restroom next to her seat but found it was occupied.
Thompson then told her the first-class restroom was unoccupied and accompanied 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 he left, the teen entered the bathroom and saw red stickers on the bottom of the toilet seat lid, which was in the open position, with the handwritten words “NON-WORKING CATERING EQUIPMENT,” “REMOVE FROM USE,” and “SEAT BROKEN.” “. According to court documents, there was ink on one of the stickers.
Underneath the stickers, Thompson had hidden his iPhone to record video, investigators said. The girl took a photo of the stickers and hidden iPhone with her phone before leaving. Thompson then immediately went back to the bathroom.
The girl told her parents, and her father confronted Thompson, who locked himself in the bathroom with his iPhone for three to five minutes before landing, investigators said.
The minor's parents also informed other flight attendants and the captain was notified. The captain then contacted the local police.
When the flight landed, police said Thompson's phone may have been reset to factory settings while he was locked in the bathroom.
The 14-year-old teenager entered the bathroom and saw red stickers on the bottom of the toilet seat lid that read “NON-WORKING CATERING EQUIPMENT,” “REMOVE FROM USE” and “SEAT BROKEN,” handwritten in black ink on one of the stickers
A search of Thompson's suitcase turned up 11 stickers reading “Inoperable Catering Equipment,” according to investigators. A search of his iCloud account allegedly revealed four additional incidents between January and August 2023 in which Thompson recorded a minor using an airplane's lavatory.
Those pictured in the footage were 7, 9, 11 and 14 years old at the time, investigators said. More than 50 images of an unaccompanied nine-year-old were also found on his account, including close-ups of her face as she slept in her seat.
The 14-year-old's family has also filed a lawsuit against Thomson and the airline.
Police also said they found “images of AI-generated child pornography” on Thompson’s iCloud account.
American Airlines said in a statement that it was taking the allegation very seriously. They also said the flight attendant was “immediately terminated from duty following the incident in September 2023” and has not worked since.
“They do not reflect our airline or our core mission of taking care of people,” the statement said. “We have cooperated fully with law enforcement in the investigation as there is nothing more important than the safety of our customers and team.”