A Minnesota woman alleges in a lawsuit filed last week that a Delta flight crew conspired with a colleague to cover up her “sexual assault” during a flight from Las Vegas to Minneapolis. In the lawsuit, passenger Alison Petri argues that two flight attendants contacted her attacker, Abigail Louise Trebnick-Emerson, so they could align their stories about the attack.
According to the complaint, Trebnick-Emerson sat next to Petri during the flight on Nov. 17, 2022, and the two made small talk. Based on her crew bag, passenger status, and familiarity with the crew, Petri deduced that Trebnick-Emerson was employed by Delta or a subsidiary. Then, Trebnick-Emerson went on to drink three cans of wine and kissed Petri on the mouth. Petri says that the kiss was unwanted and that she told Trebnick-Emerson to stop.
Petri went to the back of the plane to tell flight attendant Trent Daily what had happened and expressed her concern about Trebnick-Emerson’s level of intoxication. By the time she returned to her seat, Trebnick-Emerson had finished a fourth can of wine. Then, Daily brought Trebnick-Emerson a bottle of water and a fifth can of wine.
Petri says that as Trebnick-Emerson drank the fifth can, she kissed her cheek multiple times despite her protests. Then, after they landed in Minneapolis, Petri stood up to collect her luggage and Trebnick-Emerson “rubbed” her butt. After she deplaned, Petri reported the incident to a gate agent and filed a police report.
The lawsuit also says that Trebnick-Emerson was so intoxicated that she fell down an escalator twice. After she refused medical aid, police put her on a medical hold and had her transported to a nearby hospital.
Days later, Daily and John Ris, the other flight attendant onboard the plane, contacted Trebnick-Emerson via Facebook messenger saying they were asked to give statements for Delta’s internal investigation.
Copies of the messages filed alongside the complaint show Daily making multiple attempts to call Trebnick-Emerson, and Trebnick-Emerson writing to say that Petri had pressed charges against her. She requested that he submit a statement of support for her criminal defense.
Another series of messages show Ris writing to tell Trebnick-Emerson that he and other crew members “denied knowing anything” when they were asked by Delta investigators. However, he also revealed that Petri did tell Daily that she kissed her and added that Trebnick-Emerson was “pretty bombed.”
“I told them that I wasn’t aware of any physical contact and that I didn’t serve you alcohol. I was also unaware that there was any physical contact,” Ris wrote. He went on to suggest to Trebnick-Emerson that she “stick with your story.” He also asked if she was “on meds” because saying she had “mixed pills and alcohol, (sic) unknowingly” could help her case.
In response to Ris, Trebnick-Emerson explained that she was traveling for her grandmother’s funeral and that she felt bad for putting him and Petri in an uncomfortable position “if I did that. That seems so out of character for me.”
The lawsuit argues that the messages reflect an “indisputable conspiracy . . . to lie to all officials in an effort to protect Trebnick-Emerson and discredit (Petri).”
Later, Trebnick-Emerson was charged with criminal sexual conduct and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors dropped the former charge and Trebnick-Emerson pleaded guilty to the latter. As part of her plea agreement, she admitted that she “engaged in physical contact with another passenger” that was “offensive and tended to arouse alarm, anger, and resentment.”
In the lawsuit, Petri lists a total of five counts — four against Delta and two against Trebnick-Emerson — that include negligence and assault and battery. She is asking for more than $75,000 plus damages.