A North Carolina family is speaking out after they say a flight attendant hid a camera in a bathroom to secretly film their daughter during a Boston-bound flight this month.
In a statement released through their attorney, the anonymous family alleged that their 14-year-old daughter was “targeted and victimized by a child predator who filmed her while using the bathroom” during American Airlines Flight 1441 from Charlotte on Sept. 2.
State police, FBI respond to Logan after ‘potential criminal act’ on flight to Boston
They said a male flight attendant directed the teen to use the plane’s first-class bathroom and entered before her, ostensibly to wash his hands. He allegedly told her the toilet seat was broken and “not to worry about it,” then re-entered the bathroom after the girl left, according to the family.
“After using the toilet our daughter realized a largely obscured iPhone had been affixed to the back of the toilet seat to record her, and courageously took a picture of this with her own phone,” the family said.
Their attorney, Paul Llewellyn, shared a photo with Boston.com showing a cellphone with its flash on taped to the inside of a toilet seat lid.
Massachusetts State Police previously said that American Airlines notified officials of a “potential criminal act” onboard, and that law enforcement officials met the flight as it arrived in Boston. State police did not share any other details about the incident, which they said fell under federal jurisdiction.
However, a trooper reportedly told Charlotte-based local news station WSOC-TV that the incident involved a juvenile, a phone, and a flight attendant. The Associated Press later reported that state police escorted a flight attendant from the plane after it landed.
The teen’s family asserted that “very specific features” on the phone allegedly hidden in the bathroom “perfectly matched” one that law enforcement recovered from the flight attendant. A spokesperson for the FBI’s Boston Division declined to comment, and the agency hasn’t announced any arrests.
“These events have left our daughter — and entire family — shocked and profoundly disturbed,” the family said. “It is hard to fathom that a flight attendant — charged with ensuring our safety and security, and to whom the flying public is legally bound to obey — appears to have targeted and exploited our child in obtaining child pornography during a flight.”
They added: “That someone like this was allowed to be in that position of trust — and could follow through with such reckless behavior unchecked — should shock every parent.”
Reached for comment, American Airlines reiterated the statement it released shortly after the incident: “We take this matter very seriously and are fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation, as safety and security are our highest priorities.”
The teen’s family said they hope the ongoing investigation means “nothing like this can ever be allowed again” — a sentiment Llewellyn, their attorney, shared.
“It is shocking that a sexual predator could brazenly prey on a minor while she used the bathroom on a flight,” Llewellyn said in a statement. “This outrageous act must never occur again.”