A North Carolina man claims he suffered emotional distress after Frontier Airlines employees accused him of sex trafficking his son on a flight to Las Vegas.
According to a federal lawsuit filed in August, flight attendants and a pilot on a March flight bound for Las Vegas accused 55-year-old widower Peter DelVecchia, who is white, of sex trafficking his adopted 12-year-old son, who is black.
DelVecchia and his son were traveling to Las Vegas from Hillsborough, North Carolina, for a spring break hiking trip in Death Valley, according to the suit.
The suit claims that DelVecchia fell asleep on the flight and was jarred awake when a flight attendant, identified as “Doe No. 1” in the suit, struck him on the back of the head hard enough to cause a concussion.
“Doe No. 1 then made false accusations against Peter including accusations that Peter was engaging in illegal human trafficking and illegal sexual assault,” the suit states.
Flight attendants moved DelVecchia’s son to the back row of the plane and kept the two apart for the rest of the flight, the suit alleges. DelVecchia’s son asked to return to his seat with his father multiple times, but the suit claims a male flight attendant sat with him throughout the flight, blocking his access to the aisle.
The attendants and captain had no basis to make the allegations, “other than their shared belief that Peter, a white adult man, should not be traveling in the company of A.D., a black male child,” according to the suit.
As DelVecchia exited the plane, the suit alleges, “Doe No. 1” loudly told him that the FBI was waiting for him.
The FBI would not confirm whether it had been notified or investigated the claims.
Flight attendants notified the Metropolitan Police Department, and dispatch records show that police responded to the airport, but DelVecchia did not face any charges.
DelVecchia’s attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment, nor did Frontier’s media team.
The suit’s claims include defamation and false imprisonment. It was filed in Las Vegas.