The parents of a 14-year-old who claims to have been recordedby a flight attendant in an American Airlines aircraft bathroom are speaking about what happened to their child.
On Sept. 2, the family was aboard American Airlines Flight 1441 from Charlotte to Boston when a flight attendant directed their daughter to use a first-class bathroom instead of the coach bathroom, where the family was sitting. The male flight attendant had entered just before her to “wash his hands,” according to the parents, and told her the seat was broken, but still usable. Other passengers on board, including a passenger in first class that spoke to a local Boston news station, have confirmed the sequence of events, according to the parents.
“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 parents said in a statement. “Very specific features on the hidden phone perfectly matched the one subsequently recovered from the flight attendant by law enforcement, and airline representatives confirmed the official stickers used to secure and hide the phone would not have been accessible to anyone other than crew.”
Because of the nature of the incident, The Dallas Morning News is not naming the parents or the child. The family’s boarding passes for the flight were confirmed by The News.
The situation is being investigated by federal law enforcement since crimes committed in aircraft fall under federal jurisdiction. The parents are considering litigation against all responsible parties, including American Airlines.
The FBI “responded along with Massachusetts State Police, but decline any further comment,” a spokesperson for the agency said.
As of Monday, American has not reached out to the family or the family’s lawyers.
“American Airlines flight 1441 from Charlotte to Boston was met by law enforcement upon arrival,” said American Airlines spokesman Derek Walls. “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 FBI investigates crimes committed during a flight such as sexual misconduct, assault, interference with flight crew members and theft. The FBI also investigates violence against persons and property at international airports and interferences with airport security screening personnel, as well as bomb threats.
“These events have left our daughter — and entire family — shocked and profoundly disturbed,” the parents 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. 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.”
This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.