PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Gresham man accused of groping a 13-year-old girl on an American Airlines flight to PDX appeared in court Monday, the same day the victim’s mother sat down with KOIN 6 News.
Chad Cameron Camp, 26, is charged with one federal count of abusive sexual contact. He will remain in custody until his arraignment on July 15.
A judge agreed to grant him temporary release for a drug-and-alcohol evaluation before then.
The 13-year-old’s mom was in tears Monday as she recalled the incident, saying both the suspect and American Airlines need to be held accountable.
“It’s so many different emotions… initially you’re shocked and then you’re angry,” she said. “You’re sad that your child has to deal with this for the rest of her life.”
She paid $150 more each way for her daughter to fly alone and thought she would be protected. Instead, the girl spent 30 minutes trying to get Camp to stop touching her.
“At one point she said, ‘What are you doing to me?’ and nobody could hear because no one was even close enough,” the victim’s mom said. “A lot of comments [say], ‘Why didn’t she say something?’ and she did and he laughed… If somebody would have been close enough to hear it could have been prevented.”
She says the airline needs more detailed policies to protect unaccompanied minors on flights, like making sure they are always seated near flight attendants.
Now the family is working to file a civil suit against the airline.
“They want to make sure that change happens so no other child has to go through this,” the victim’s attorney Brent Goodfellow said.
Goodfellow described the incident as “100% preventable”.
A Lewis & Clark University law professor says, if the family can prove the crew was unreasonable and negligent with their actions, they could be held liable.
“Obviously the [flight attendant] can’t stand there and watch her the whole time,” professor William Funk said. “But if there was any indication something was wrong and brought to their attention and they didn’t do anything, that would matter.”
American Airlines says it cares deeply about young passengers and is committed to providing safe travel experiences. The airline has cooperated with investigators.