CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The attorney for a teenage girl who says she found a cellphone taped to the seat of a toilet on a plane is reacting to the news that a Charlotte flight attendant will now be criminally charged.
It turns out that the testimony of this girl, who was 14 years old at the time, could have potentially prevented more children from becoming victims.
The FBI believes 37-year-old Estes Thompson III secretly recorded passengers on at least five flights, including the one from Charlotte to Boston back in September.
Records show he was working as an attendant for American Airlines between January and August of 2023.
According to a search warrant report from Thompson’s phone, during that time, he recorded a minor using the bathroom on the plane four more times. The victims’ ages were seven, nine, 11 and 14.
NewsNation spoke to Paul Llewellyn, the attorney representing the 14-year-old’s family. He says they’re trying to support their daughter and get through this as best as they can.
“Before she went into the bathroom, [Thompason III] said, ‘Before you go in, I’m just going to wash my hands because I’m about to start trash collection service.’ Well, that’s unusual, why would you wash your hands before you start collecting trash,” Llewellyn recalled. “He went in, came back a short time later, and he said ‘The toilet seat is broken, but don’t worry, we will fix it when we land.’ So clearly when he pretended to wash his hands, he was in there setting up the camera.”
The charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children carry a sentence between 15 and 30 years in prison.