American Airlines retreats after blaming a 9-year-old for not seeing a hidden camera in a lavatory

American Airlines has distanced itself from a previous court filing that suggested a 9-year-old girl should have noticed a camera taped to the seat of an airplane lavatory.

In response to the lawsuit, American said in a court document that it would dispute the family’s claim by showing that any injuries the 9-year-old girl suffered were caused by the girl’s “own fault and negligence, were proximately caused by (her) use of the compromised lavatory, which she knew or should have known contained a visible and illuminated recording device.”

An American spokesperson said Thursday that outside lawyers working for the company “made an error in this filing.”

“We do not believe this child is at fault, and we take the allegations involving a former team member very seriously,” the spokesperson said.

A former flight attendant is accused of luring girls to use the lavatory after taping his iPhone to the toilet seat. The 9-year-old’s family, who were flying from Texas to California on American last year, sued the airline after the FBI informed them that videos of the girl were found on the flight attendant’s phone.

Lawyers for the airline amended the filing Wednesday in a state district court in Austin, Texas. The new filing is shorter and removes the claim that the girl was responsible for her own injuries.

Estes Carter Thompson III, a flight attendant who was subsequently fired by American, pleaded not guilty this week to attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child sexual abuse images.

Authorities allege that Thompson, 37, tried to secretly record video of a 14-year-old girl using the bathroom on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston, and had recordings of four girls, including the 9-year-old, using lavatories on earlier flights. He was arrested in January and has been in federal custody since.

Thompson is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on July 1. The charges he faces carry maximum sentences of up to 30 and 20 years in prison, along with fines of up to $250,000.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash

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