An Oregon man has been arrested for allegedly groping a teenage girl on an airplane, CNN is reporting.
Police say that 26-year-old Chad Cameron Camp boarded an American Airlines flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Portland on Wednesday and took a middle seat next to a 13-year-old girl, who was flying alone as an “unaccompanied minor.” A flight attendant told Camp that other seats were available, but Camp instead refused to change seats and kept his seat near the girl.
“That’s a red flag. Anybody who’s been on an airplane ever is going to move out of the middle seat the second they can.”
As the flight progressed, Camp allegedly made a nuisance of himself to the young victim. He attempted to make small talk with her, leaned against her, nudged her with his elbow, and on at least three occasions, placed his hand on her upper thigh. The girl, meanwhile, leaned against the plane’s window to try to ignore him. She would later tell investigators that she felt “frightened and trapped.”
Eventually a flight attendant noticed something was amiss after seeing Camp’s hand on the girl’s crotch and noticing a tear falling down her cheek. She ordered Camp to move to a seat at the back of the plane, and moved the girl up several rows towards the front. The flight attendant then notified the captain, who radioed the incident to the Port of Portland police. He was arrested by FBI agents at the Portland airport and taken to Multnomah County Jail, where he was charged with abusive sexual contact. He remains jailed without bond as of this writing.
The 13-year-old victim was flying unaccompanied from Dallas to Portland. According to American Airlines’ website, unaccompanied minors must pay an extra $150 on top of the price of their ticket.
“[This fee ensures] your child is boarded onto the aircraft, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and released to the appropriate person at their destination.”
“They didn’t make him move, they let him sit there until she was abused for 30 minutes. From what I understand she was the only child on the airplane that evening, so it would have been pretty easy to take a few small steps.”
The family intends to file a lawsuit against American Airlines.
The young victim, meanwhile, has been traumatized by the assault.
“She is already saying she doesn’t want to be on an airplane ever again. I sat with the family for about 3 hours … she didn’t want to be touched by her mom, every time she went to give her kind of a loving touch she would jump.”
American Airlines has refused to comment directly on the incident, but instead issued a general statement.
“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them. We take these matters very seriously and have cooperated fully and immediately with law enforcement officials in their investigation of the suspect.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are no nationwide federal regulations regarding unaccompanied minors on aircraft, and each airline is free to set up its own specific policies and procedures for dealing with teens and children flying alone.
[Image via Shutterstock/wong yu liang]