A 13-year-old who was allegedly groped by a stranger while flying solo from Dallas, Texas to Portland, Oregon, is speaking out about her terrifying ordeal.
“I would never think this would happen,” the teen, Mackenzie, told Inside Edition.
In June, she flew on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Portland, Oregon by herself. Her family had paid extra for the airlines' Unaccompanied Minor Program, which is designed to protect and help young passengers who are traveling without a parent or adult supervision.
But a passenger sitting next to her allegedly touched her inappropriately.
"From the beginning of the flight to when they found her crying—tears coming down her cheek and the man's hand in her crotch area—was approximately 30 minutes," the family's lawyer, Brent Goodfellow, told Inside Edition. "It was a horrible event for this young girl.”
Chad Camp, 26, was arrested upon landing and was charged with abusive sexual contact. He's pleaded not guilty.
“He was able to touch her," Mackenzie’s mom, Rachel Miller, told Inside Edition. "He was basically able to do whatever he wanted.”
Goodfellow has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family against the airline.
“She was devastated," he said. "And she didn't want to be on an airplane again when I talked to her after the flight. She didn't even want to be touched or hugged by her mom."
Mackenzie knows her parents will never let her fly solo again.
“You see this stuff and you think that's crazy and it happens to you and it’s shocking,” she said.
American Airlines says they fully cooperated with law enforcement in Mackenzie’s case. They say they care deeply about young passengers and are committed to providing a safe travel experience.
With her parents cooperation, Inside Edition followed an unaccompanied minor on a flight to see if the child could be at risk. You can read the full investigation here.