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N.C. family says teen daughter found hidden camera in restroom of Boston-bound flight

The family of a teenage girl says their daughter found a smartphone affixed to the toilet seat with its camera facing out in the bathroom of an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Boston on Sept. 2.Family attorney

A North Carolina family that flew into Boston early this month to visit their son at college says their teenage daughter found a hidden camera in the restroom on their American Airlines flight and is accusing a flight attendant of placing it there.

In a statement issued through their attorney, Paul Llewellyn of San Francisco-based Lewis & Llewellyn LLP, the girl’s parents say the incident has left their family “shocked and profoundly disturbed.”

“Our 14-year-old daughter was targeted and victimized by a child predator who filmed her while using the bathroom,” the family’s statement said.

Massachusetts State Police met the flight at the gate after it landed at Logan, and a flight attendant was escorted off the plane, according to the Associated Press.

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Asked for information on the incident, State Police deferred the AP to the FBI because the episode happened in the air, where the federal agency has jurisdiction. An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on the investigation. State Police did not respond to a Globe inquiry seeking more information.

According to their statement, the family was traveling on American Airlines Flight 1441 from Charlotte, N.C., to Boston on Sept. 2 when the girl got up to use the restroom and was told by a flight attendant that she could use the first-class lavatory.

The flight attendant led her to the bathroom but went inside first, telling her he had to wash his hands, according to the family. When he came out, the flight attendant told the girl that the toilet seat was broken but was OK to use, the family said.

Their daughter went in and used the restroom but then noticed an iPhone affixed to the lid of the toilet seat using red stickers with “seat broken” written across one in black marker, the family said.

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The girl took a photograph of the phone, which Llewellyn shared with the Globe. The photo shows the cellphone stuck to the lid upside down with the camera facing out.

The family said the flight attendant went back into the lavatory after the girl exited. She then showed her parents the photo she had taken.

“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,” the family’s statement said.

“It is shocking that a sexual predator could brazenly prey on a minor while she used the bathroom on a flight,” Llewellyn added. “This outrageous act must never occur again.”

Asked for comment, American Airlines referenced a previously released statement and referred further questions to law enforcement.

“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 airline said.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com.