A 35-year-old manager at a Kentucky Fried Chicken joint in Humble had sex with a 16-year-old employee 50 to 100 times in the restaurant's back room, in hotels, outside by the dumpster, in his car and elsewhere, according to a lawsuit now filed against the manager, his superiors and against the fast food chain.
The child sex abuse suit, filed in state court last week, also accuses his superiors of negligence, since attorneys say management knew of the assaults but took no action. The plaintiff, who is not being identified because she was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse, began working at the restaurant in September 2013. She is asking for between $1 million and $5.6 million in damages. She has also filed a complaint with the Houston Police Department, which is now investigating the case. (Update: The case has since been referred to the Humble Police Department, an HPD spokeswoman said.)
"There was a duty on the part of her employer to get rid of this pedophile and they didn't," said Benjamin Hall, lead attorney on the case. "He raped this young girl repeatedly, and the property owners including KFC should have taken action to remove him; those complicit in knowing he was raping this little 16-year-old and did nothing about it, they likewise aided his sexual assaults."
A manager at KFC (3130 FM 1960) who was not named in the lawsuit, Dee Collins, declined comment on the case on behalf of the business.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a nearly identical suit filed against a Houston Chipotle, which was recently ordered to pay a teenage girl $7.5 million in damages after a jury found that the teen's assistant manager had pressured her into a sexual relationship. Hall was also the lead trial attorney in that case — but says he found this one to be even worse. While investigating the case, Hall says attorneys have tracked down at least three additional victims who were employees there, who can corroborate the plaintiff's case and confirm that managers knew what was going on and covered it up.
According to attorneys, when other employees tried to inform managers that a 35-year-old employee was having sex with a high school girl regularly, management had said it was "consensual" — even though the age of consent in Texas is 17. The manager also apparently refused to wear a condom — despite the plaintiff's concerns about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections — and would often take off her clothes in a tight office space against her will, attorneys said.
In the lawsuit, attorneys assert that the manager's Facebook posts should have further made it obvious to co-workers and, well, anybody that he was a pervert who had no respect for women. "If you look at his Facebook page," attorney George Edwards told the Houston Press, "it sort of tells the story of a very troubled psyche and troubled worldview of females." Here is a stomach-churning sample of some of the posts attorneys highlighted:
November 9, 2012: "(WOMAN SAYS) My gynecologist says I can't have sex
for 2 weeks...."(MAN SAYS): What did your dentist say?"
September 22, 2013: "True love is, when he holds your hair back while you're
giving him a blowjob."
January 6, 2014: "I came here to flip cars and get bitches....AND I'M ALL OUT
"In addition to posting derogatory comments about women, [the defendant] was callous enough to post an actual video of a scantily clad woman showing her near naked derriere in the camera," attorneys wrote in the suit.
The Houston Press is not identifying the defendant in the case because he has yet to be charged with a crime.
Hall said the abuse against the plaintiff continued for 11 months; when the girl began refusing his repeated advances and feeling physically threatened, she quit. Now 19, she is still undergoing therapy to deal with the trauma.
"There's no amount of money that will erase the 50 to 100 instances of abuse and rape that was suffered by our client at this KFC location," Edwards said. "There is no amount of money that will put her back together again."
A judge has granted a temporary injunction against the manager to prevent him from contacting the plaintiff or going near her, or distributing any photos of her he is believed to have taken. The next hearing is Friday, when her attorneys will ask for a more permanent injunction.