An Oregon father is suing American Airlines for $10 million after he claims the company failed to protect his unaccompanied 13-year-old daughter from being fondled by a drunk passenger.
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on July 5, Chad Cameron Camp, 26, was seen drinking four mixed drinks prior to boarding an American Airlines flight to Portland last month.
"Upon his entrance onto the aircraft, he was mumbling to himself," the lawsuit states. "The first word out of his mouth when seated next to [the victim] was 'fuck.'"
Although there was plenty of available seating, Camp refused the opportunity to move when a flight attendant offered him a different seat.
"Almost immediately," the suit alleges, Camp began to grope the girl, touching her knee, upper thigh, and finally her crotch. The abuse lasted approximately 30 minutes before a flight attendant passing out snacks "saw Camp with his hand in [the victim's] crotch and a tear falling from her cheek." She demanded he move to the back of the plane. The flight attendant then informed the pilot, and the FBI was also notified.
Camp was arrested after the plane landed and was charged with abusive sexual conduct. He is currently free on bail and awaiting arraignment.
The lawsuit holds the airline accountable for failing "to provide a reasonable or adequate level of supervision, care or safety" for the 13-year-old after her father paid an "unaccompanied minor" fee of $300 round-trip, in addition to the price of the plane ticket. According to the airline's website, the service ensures that a minor between the ages of five and 14 "is boarded onto the aircraft, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and released to the appropriate person at their destination."
The suit contends the airline was negligent in these duties: "Camp was allowed by American to move into the seat next to [the victim's] and repeatedly violate her body, space and privacy, including committing multiple separate criminal acts of sexual abuse against [the victim], despite Camp being noticeably impaired when he boarded the aircraft and his history of abusing illegal substances."
In an interview with Courthouse News, the plaintiff's lawyer, Brent Goodfellow, raised a point about the "unsaid expectations" a parent has when paying someone to care for his child. "First and foremost being that you will keep them safe from harm," Goodfellow said. "Allowing an intoxicated man to sit next to a 13-year-old girl who is trapped against the window starts me questioning the level of care they provided this child."