According to the outlet, the incident occurred on September 2 after a family of four boarded American Airlines flight 1441. The flight departed Charlotte, North Carolina, with an arrival destination of Boston, Massachusetts.
The family’s attorney, Erin Reding, explained to the outlet that their 14-year-old daughter was waiting to use a coach bathroom on the flight. However, an unnamed male flight attendant “estimated” to be in his “early 30s,” as per the New York Post, approached the teenager.
The attendant reportedly informed the teen that she could use the bathroom in first class.
Reding noted that the teenager found the offer strange because the first-class bathroom was also occupied. However, she complied. The attorney also noted that before the girl entered the bathroom, the flight attendant went in, informing the teen that he needed to “wash his hands.”
When the flight attendant left the bathroom, he informed the girl that the toilet seat was “broken.” However, she could “ignore it.”
“I think that that was like a psychological trick to make her not really study it,” the 14-year-old’s mother, who opted to remain anonymous, told Insider. “So that she kind of felt like, ‘I know what that is. I don’t need to worry about that. That’s broken, so don’t investigate it.’”
The girl entered the bathroom, noticing red tape under the toilet seat’s hood. However, after she used the facility and flushed, the 14-year-old saw a phone camera sticking out from beneath red tape.
The teenager then took a photo and informed her mother, who stopped another passenger from entering the bathroom. According to the New York Post, when the women checked the bathroom, the phone and red tape were gone.
The teenager’s father then confronted the male flight attendant, who reportedly turned “totally white,” per the New York Post. According to Insider, the flight attendant allegedly pulled his phone “from an overhead carrier” and began “furiously typing.”
According to Reding, the other flight attendants and pilot were also informed of the incident. However, the male flight attendant was allegedly still allowed to return to the first-class bathroom by himself for “a while.”
“I would expect him to be in a seat with a flight attendant next to him not allowed to access his phone,” the attorney told Insider. “Right now, he’s a suspect in a crime. But that’s not at all what happened.”
The attorney adds that the family is now “considering” litigation against American Airlines.
“You think of flight attendants as authority figures, people that are there for your safety and people you can trust,” the mother told Insider. “To find out — from her perspective — that she was being targeted, and her privacy was being invaded, that’s kind of a hard thing to process.”
According to a statement issued by American Airlines, authorities responded to the incident once the plane landed. According to the New York Post, the male flight attendant was escorted off the plane by officers.
Additionally, Insider reports that American Airlines is “fully cooperating” with law enforcement’s investigation.
“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 statement read, as per Insider.
According to the outlet, the FBI confirmed that the bureau responded to the incident after the plane landed in Boston. The outlet adds that the bureau is “still actively investigating the case,” per information from the victim’s family.
The New York Post has also confirmed the FBI’s investigation into the matter, adding that no arrest has been made regarding the incident.