Airline Passenger Pleads Guilty to Groping 13-Year-Old Girl: 'This Was 30 Minutes of Hell'
A 26-year-old man who was arrested in June for groping a 13-year-old girl aboard a flight has pleaded guilty and will register as a sex offender
A 26-year-old man who was arrested in June for groping a 13-year-old girl aboard an Oregon-bound flight has pleaded guilty and will register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.
PEOPLE confirms that Chad Camp pleaded guilty Thursday to making an indecent sexual proposal to a minor and assault with intent to commit abusive sexual contact of a minor during an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Portland, Oregon.
Camp could also receive a 14-month prison term when he is sentenced on May 3.
“I invaded her space, touching her in her thigh and her groin area,” he said in court, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I had inappropriate conversations with her. My words were fairly considered to be indecent. What I did was wrong in all respects.”
He was arrested immediately following the June flight, by FBI agents at Portland International Airport. He was returning to Oregon after finishing treatment for alcohol dependency in Florida.
Camp admitted in court on Thursday to drinking heavily during a layover preceding the flight, a U.S. Department of Justice official confirms to PEOPLE. (Camp’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.)
An American Airlines flight attendant told investigators she realized something was amiss during the flight after spotting Camp’s hand in the girl’s lap and “a single tear coming down the victim’s cheek,” his arrest warrant states.
According to his arrest warrant, obtained by PEOPLE, Camp touched the victim several times. When she moved away from the physical contact, he would laugh.
The attendant immediately separated the two and crew members notified law enforcement authorities on the ground, according to the warrant.
The victim was flying home as an unaccompanied minor. Her family has since filed a $10 million lawsuit against American Airlines, claiming negligence.
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“The victim stated that Camp … reached over with his left hand and placed it on the victim’s knee and slid it up to her upper thigh,” his criminal complaint read, describing the abuse. “The victim crossed her right leg over her left and leaned towards the window to break contact with Camp … she was frightened and felt trapped.”
The complaint also cited a witness who saw Camp “consume four mixed alcoholic drinks” at the airport bar before boarding the flight.
According to the family’s lawsuit, almost as soon as he sat next to her, Camp began to “rub up against [the girl], lean close to her and fondle her body with his hand.”
This went on for about 30 minutes, according to the suit — with Camp moving up to the girl’s upper thigh and crotch.
“I would never think this would happen,” the victim later told Inside Edition. “You see this stuff and you think, ‘That’s crazy,’ and then it happens to you and it’s shocking.”
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“This was 30 minutes of hell for this child,” the family’s attorney told PEOPLE last year. “She didn’t know what to do.”
In a statement at the time, American Airlines said that they “have cooperated fully and immediately with law enforcement officials in their investigation of the suspect.”
“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them,” the airline said.
The suit is ongoing.