An unidentified male flight attendant was removed from an American Airlines plane in September after a 14-year-old girl from North Carolina said he taped an iPhone to an airplane toilet to record her using the restroom.
The alleged incident happened on a 2 September flight from Charlotte to Boston.
Police said the flight attendant was removed from the plane by state troopers when it landed at Boston Logan International Airport but he was not arrested because they did not find any incriminating images on his phone.
According to the lawsuit, lawyers for the teenager say that American “knew or should have known the flight attendant was a danger.”
They alleged the failure of other crew members to confiscate the employee’s phone allowed him to destroy evidence.
The airline said the flight attendant was “withheld from service” immediately after the alleged incident and has not worked since.
“We take this matter very seriously and have been fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation, as safety and security are our highest priorities,” American said in a statement.
The girl said the incident happened after the flight attendant told her she could use the toilet in the first-class cabin. She added that he entered the bathroom first, saying he needed to wash his hands, then emerged a minute later to tell the girl that the seat was broken but not to worry about it.
The teenager said she noticed an iPhone taped to the toilet lid under a “seat broken” sign while she was using the toilet. She said the camera flash was glowing. “It immediately occurred to her that someone had put the phone there to film her using the toilet,” the lawsuit said.
She then took a picture of the device.
After the girl left the restroom, the attendant was seen going back in, a passenger on board the flight told Boston 25.
As another passenger was about to enter the bathroom, the girl’s mother came up from the economy cabin and warned them not to go in as there was a hidden camera.
The girl’s dad told the New York Post he confronted the four flight attendants with the photo, and saw the male air host’s face go “totally white”.
State police boarded the flight and inspected the restroom, before taking the male attendant away, the witness said.
The 14-year-old said the incident left her “shocked and scared.” She is now undergoing therapy for trauma, her family’s lawyers said.