The parents of a 13-year-old girl have sued American Airlines for $10 million after she was allegedly sexually assaulted on their flight last month. Also being sued is Chad Cameron Camp, 26, the man who is accused of touching the girl inappropriately during the June 15 American Airlines flight from Dallas, Texas, to Portland, Oregon. The girl was returning home from visiting her dad in Dallas and was flying as an unaccompanied minor.
American Airlines is being sued for $10 million, documents say. The lawsuit, according to People Magazine, alleges that the American Airlines flight crew was negligent in having left the girl “unsupervised and unmonitored,” which allowed the abuser to continue his actions without being interrupted. Camp was seated next to the girl at the beginning of the flight, in spite of the flight being about half empty, according to the suit. The flight crew allegedly allowed Camp to remain next to her without moving him or offering her another seat, even though she was an unaccompanied minor and he was an adult male. Behind the parents’ anger is the fact that they paid an additional $300 to American Airlines for her unaccompanied minor status on top of the price of her ticket. This, they believed, would ensure that the flight crew would seat her in a location where she could be more closely monitored and would at least take special considerations in regards to her safety. Had she been more carefully observed, they would likely not be sued, according to the allegations.
In the suit, Camp was said to have been seen drinking four “mixed drinks” an hour before the flight, and that he sexually assaulted her right away. He began fondling her with his hand almost as soon as he sat next to her. He allegedly began to “rub up against” the girl, leaning in close and touching her and merely laughed when the girl asked him to stop. The lawsuit says the assault went on for about 30 minutes, during which Camp allegedly moved his hand up to her upper thigh and crotch. At this point, a flight attendant who was serving snacks saw him with his hand on the girl. The suit says the flight attendant noticed “a tear falling from her cheek.”
Once Camp’s behavior was observed, he was moved to another seat, and the girl was seated in the first rows of the plane, just behind first class. The pilot was notified and turned on the fasten seat-belt sign and left it on throughout the remainder of the flight. American Airlines staff also notified local police and the FBI and once the flight landed in Portland.
Camp was immediately arrested and charged with one federal count of abusive sexual contact. He has entered a not-guilty plea to the charge and will be held in custody until he is arraigned on July 15. His attorney hasn’t issued any public statements at this date in regards to his client being sued. The lawsuit claims the 13-year-old girl was introduced to the American Airlines flight crew as an unaccompanied minor about an hour before the flight, which the parents say should have alerted them to the need for closer supervision. The suit lists the manner of alleged sexual assault by Camp as well as the ways American Airlines neglected to ensure her safety.
“American knew (the teen) as an unaccompanied minor and failed in its duty to provide Plaintiff the requisite care to protect (the teen) from the harms alleged herein. (The teen) was introduced to the flight crew as an unaccompanied minor approximately an hour before the flight took off and its failure to adhere to the standard of care was a contributing factor to Plaintiffs’ injuries and damages as alleged herein.”
The family’s attorney, Brent J. Goodfellow, stated in the lawsuit that if the young girl was seated closer to flight attendants or on an aisle instead of a window seat, that “unless the flight attendants were asleep, [she] would have been better supervised and more able to seek help.” He says that American Airline’s “reckless indifference” to the girl’s welfare rises to the level of “willful and wanton disregard” for her safety.
“This was 30 minutes of hell for this child. She didn’t know what to do.”
He went on to say that the girl’s parents expected that the American Airlines staff would protect her. They have sued seeking compensatory and punitive damages, including payment for medical and psychological services for her, including therapy. The lawsuit claims that the girl “has suffered direct and extreme psychological, emotional and mental trauma and injury of a permanent nature.” Goodfellow claims that they have sued American Airlines, as well as the suspect, for monetary payment, but that it is secondary and that the parents have sued because they want real change so that no one else’s child will be sexually assaulted this way. The mother says she paid the airline more than $150 each way to ensure her daughter’s protection, but that didn’t happen.
“It’s so many different emotions… initially you’re shocked and then you’re angry.
“You’re sad that your child has to deal with this for the rest of her life.”
According to a report previously published by the Inquisitr, American Airlines gave a statement that they can’t comment on an ongoing investigation, but that they are cooperating with it. As of now, American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller has said that the company is reviewing the lawsuit while continuing to cooperate with an FBI investigation, as reported by Fox News. The suspect currently remains in a Portland jail while American Airlines deals with the prospect of being sued for the allegedly negligent behavior of their flight crew.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]