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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Accused of Pedophilia for Reporting Bed Bugs?

DALLAS (CN) - Sheraton Hotel managers accused a guest of being a pedophile after he complained about his dirty, insect-infested room, the man claims in court.

Joseph Picaroni Jr., of Tinton Falls, N.J., sued Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide on Thursday in Dallas County Court.

He claims that he stayed at Starwood's downtown Dallas Sheraton Hotel in June and was injured by bed bugs.

"During his stay, plaintiff complained to management about his room," the 10-page complaint states. "Plaintiff complained of insect bites, the presence of gnats, and a soiled rag that was left in the room."

In response, hotel management allegedly accused Picaroni of being a pedophile and threatened to call police if he continued to complain.

He says management told him in the presence of his business associates that a security report existed that documented "inappropriate acts towards children" he allegedly committed.

"Plaintiff was frightened, in a complete despair, and was unable to sleep," the complaint states. "Instead, plaintiff stared at the door to his room all night thinking the police would kick it down."

Picaroni says he demanded a copy of the supposed security report, but it never came. He says that he was forced to explain to business associates that he could be arrested during his trip to Dallas.

"Plaintiff spent much of the entire week in fear of being falsely accused and ultimately prosecuted for a crime he did not commit," the complaint states.

After he returned home, a doctor determined his injuries were bed bug bites and says the bites may leave permanent scars, Picaroni says. Sheraton management ultimately called him and offered an apology, according to the complaint.

Picaroni seeks punitive damages for negligence, defamation, emotional distress and other claims. He is represented by Darren Wolf of Richardson.

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