An unaccompanied 6-year-old boy flying with LATAM was allegedly raped and left with “traumatic injuries” by a male airline employee.
The unaccompanied minor, a US citizen, was traveling to Orlando, Florida from Belo Horizonte, Brazil in May 2018 but when employees couldn’t find his travel documents during a transfer in São Paulo, he was held in a hotel overnight to await a new flight the next day.
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According to the lawsuit, a male employee of LATAM is alleged to have sexually assaulted the boy while “supervising” him in the company hotel.
DailyMail report: The father of the 6-year-old boy filed a federal lawsuit against the airline on Monday in Florida’s Middle District accusing LATAM of negligently training its employees and failing to protect the young boy.
The lawsuit claims the child suffered “traumatic injuries” from the alleged assault.
The six-year-old boy was on a flight from Belo Horizonte to São Paulo where he would transfer to another flight bound for Florida.
His mother put his travel documents in a folder around his neck.
During the flight from Belo Horizonte to São Paulo, a flight attendant removed the folder from around the boy’s neck and placed it in his backpack.
A different employee who took the boy to his connecting flight couldn’t find his documents, which included his Brazilian and American passports, according to the lawsuit.
As a result he missed his flight because Brazilian police would not let him on the plane. Later the employee found the folder in the backpack.
LATAM employees then ‘unilaterally decided’ to keep the boy at one of its hotels overnight.
The child spent at least 15 hours in a hotel room ‘with just one employee at a time’, as per the lawsuit.
There four airline employees took turns supervising him over that span of time.
One of those employees, a man, allegedly sexually assaulted the boy during that time.
A spokeswoman for the father’s attorney on Wednesday would not comment when asked whether law enforcement was notified.
‘LATAM, and the airline industry generally, had actual knowledge of the risk to unaccompanied minor children during lengthy layovers, and that unaccompanied minors who are negligently cared for could result in assaults of children,’ the lawsuit said.
A spokesperson for LATAM, which is based in Chile, said that the company has not been served with the lawsuit.
‘However, it takes any allegation of this nature seriously and will cooperate with any resulting investigation,’ the company said to DailyMail.com.
The lawsuit, filed by a lawyer the Morgan & Morgan firm, argued the airline had a duty to ‘furnish suitable, proper, and safe means to transport the unaccompanied minor’.
It further argues the boy suffered ‘traumatic injuries’ that were ‘the result of defendant airline’s wilful misconduct or, alternatively, an accident that defendant, LATAM, did not take all necessary measures to avoid.’