Former American Airlines Flight Attendant Arrested for Secretly Recording Minors in Airplane Lavatories

Former American Airlines Flight Attendant Arrested for Recording Minors in Airplane Lavatories

A former American Airlines flight attendant is facing serious charges after authorities discovered secret recordings of minors using the airplane lavatories on his phone. Estes Carter Thompson III, a 36-year-old man from North Carolina, was arrested and charged on January 18 with attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.

The incident in question took place on September 2, 2023, during an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston, Massachusetts. Thompson, who was working as a flight attendant at the time, allegedly directed a 14-year-old girl to the first-class lavatory when she needed to use the restroom. Inside, she discovered an iPhone hidden on the underside of the toilet seat lid. She quickly took photos of the setup and alerted her parents and the flight crew.

The girl’s father confronted Thompson before the flight landed, prompting Thompson to lock himself in one of the bathrooms. Once the authorities apprehended Thompson at Logan Airport in Boston, they discovered that his phone had been restored to factory settings.

Further investigation of Thompson’s iCloud account revealed secret recordings of four minors using aircraft lavatories, as well as hundreds of images of AI-generated child pornography. The four girls, ranging in age from 7 to 14, were identified, and their parents were notified.

Thompson was arrested in Lynchburg, Virginia, and will have his first court appearance in the Western District of Virginia. He will ultimately be tried in federal court in Boston.

American Airlines has confirmed that Thompson is no longer employed by the company and has been fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.

If found guilty, Thompson could face several decades in federal prison. The acting United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Joshua S. Levy, expressed his concern over the allegations, stating that such conduct should never be a worry for parents or children when they travel. He emphasized the importance of protecting children and holding accountable those who victimize them.

This incident is part of a larger trend of alleged child sex abuse and child pornography cases coming to light in North Texas. The Dallas Express has reported numerous cases involving hospital chaplains, city council candidates, Texas A&M administrators, and educators who have been accused of child predatory behavior.

In Dallas specifically, there has been a significant increase in prostitution offenses, with a total of 21 sex crimes reported already in 2024 as of January 18. The majority of the victims are black or Hispanic teenagers, with a median age of 16.

The Dallas Police Department is currently facing a staffing shortage, with only 3,000 officers despite a recommended strength of 4,000. The police department’s budget allocation is also significantly lower than that of other high-crime cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

It is important that incidents like these are thoroughly investigated and that measures are taken to prevent further instances of child exploitation and abuse.

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