American Airlines stewardess arrested with videos of at least 5 girls up to 7 years old in airplane bathrooms: authorities

An American Airlines flight attendant was arrested Thursday after he allegedly recorded several girls with a hidden camera while they used the bathrooms aboard flights he worked on.

Estes Carter Thompson III, 36, was caught red-handed in September by a 14-year-old girl whom he tried to secretly film in a plane bathroom, triggering a federal investigation that revealed videos of four previous victims.

Thompson allegedly possessed recordings of four underage female passengers, as young as 7, using the bathroom aboard a plane he had previously worked on, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced Thursday.

The flight attendant was working aboard an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Boston, Massachusetts, on Sept. 2 when she attempted to film a 14-year-old girl in the bathroom, prosecutors alleged.

Midway through the flight, the teen got up to use the main cabin bathroom closest to her seat, but found it occupied, prosecutors said. Thompson approached her while she waited and told her that the first-class bathroom was open and he walked her there.

Before she came in, he told her she needed to wash her hands and that the toilet seat was broken. He briefly entered and exited the bathroom before letting her enter.

Estes Carter Thompson III, 36, was arrested in Virginia on Thursday.

Once inside, the teen noticed red stickers on the bottom of the open toilet seat lid, reading “INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT” and “REMOVE FROM SERVICE,” and “BROKEN SEAT” was handwritten in black ink on one of the stickers. , according to court documents and images obtained by The Post.

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Underneath the stickers, the girl discovered that Thompson had hidden his cell phone to record a video. She took a photo of the stickers and the phone before leaving, at which point Thompson immediately re-entered.

The girl’s image shows an iPhone crudely taped to the toilet seat and covered except for the top part where the camera is located, with its bright flashlight on next to it.

The victim returned to his seat and showed the photos to his parents, who then reported what happened to other flight attendants. They alerted the captain, who contacted authorities on the ground in Boston.

Thompson allegedly hid his phone under the toilet seat.

The girl’s father allegedly confronted Thompson, who then locked himself in the bathroom with his phone for about five minutes before the plane landed.

A lawsuit filed against American Airlines by the girl’s family in December claims that Thompson’s “face lost color” when they confronted her.

“He said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have nothing to do with this,’” the lawsuit states.

At Boston’s Logan Airport, police searched his belongings and found 11 additional red stickers like the ones he had used to hide the phone. Officers also checked his phone but discovered it may have been restored to factory settings.

Thompson’s iCloud account, however, was not deleted.

In the account, police found four other cases between January and August 2023 in which Thompson secretly filmed underage girls using the bathroom. The victims in these cases were ages 7, 9, 11 and 14, prosecutors said.

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American Airlines said Thompson was immediately removed from service after the incident. AFP via Getty Images

More than 50 images of a 9-year-old unaccompanied minor were also allegedly found on Thompson’s iCloud, including images of her sleeping in her seat.

Prosecutors said all of the minor victims involved have been identified and contacted by authorities.

Authorities also found hundreds of AI-generated images of child pornography stored on Thompson’s iCloud account.

Immediately after the September incident, Thompson was removed from American Airlines service and has not worked since, the airline said.

Still, the 14-year-old victim’s family sued American Airlines in December for not immediately confiscating Thompson’s phone, allowing him to potentially “destroy evidence” during the flight after the crew had been notified.

The family’s attorney, Paul Llewellyn, told The Post on Thursday that while they were happy to learn of Thompson’s arrest, American Airlines still has questions to answer about the incident.

“It is also shocking to hear that he allegedly preyed on at least five minors while flying American,” Llewellyn said in a statement. “While the criminal justice system must now take its course against the flight attendant, it remains to be seen if American will ultimately take any measure of accountability to the families for what happened. “This should never have been allowed to happen and it should never happen again.”

American Airlines said it takes “these allegations very seriously.”

“They do not reflect our airline or our core mission of caring for people,” the airline told The Post in a statement. “We have been cooperating fully with the authorities in their investigation, as there is nothing more important than the safety of our customers and our team.”

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Thompson was arrested in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Thursday and charged with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor, prosecutors said.

Thompson faces a maximum of 50 years in prison, possible life on supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, according to federal sentencing guidelines.

He is being held prior to his initial court appearance in the Western District of Virginia and will be scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.

“The deeply disturbing conduct alleged here is something no parent or child should worry about when traveling,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy.

Additional reporting by David Propper.

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