Nearly two years after claiming she was raped in the stall of a TGI Friday's in Webster, Texas, by one of its employees, a young woman is suing the restaurant for negligence. The woman, referred to as Jane Doe within the lawsuit, was 17 at the time of the rape. The man who raped her registered as a sex offender in 2005, which TGI Friday's failed to ascertain when he was hired. He pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault on July 13, 2012, and is currently imprisoned.
As a result of the rape, the woman, represented by attorney Rusty Hardin, "has regressed into childhood habits and routines that she had long since abandoned. The rape mentally and physically traumatized Ms. Doe."
However, as stated within the lawsuit, it wasn't simply the actions of one lone employee that led to the rape two days before her high school prom. Rather, the negligent actions of the employees and corporate structure -- stretching from the attacker's negligent hiring to myriad actions on the night of the attack -- resulted in the young woman's rape. Additionally, the lawsuit states that at least one TGI Friday's employee knew the man was a registered sex offender.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Harris County Civil District Court and seeking unspecified damages, details the night's actions by the establishment's employees, Ms. Doe and those who eventually found Ms. Doe following the rape.
"We're currently reviewing the allegations contained in the lawsuit and are unable to discuss elements of the filing during this process," wrote a TGI Friday's spokesperson in an e-mail to Hair Balls.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Doe initially entered the TGI Friday's, located at 19403 Gulf Freeway, at 2 a.m., looking for a telephone to contact friends or family for a ride. The employees at the restaurant had been celebrating a manager's birthday "by drinking heavily at several establishments, including a sexually oriented business." While the business was closed "to the public," the employees continued to drink, enjoying a subsequent "after-hours party."
When Ms. Doe initially approached the employees for a phone call, she was offered both a drink and a shot, despite no one asking for her identification. Such activity, according to the lawsuit, "is consistent with the corporate image that TGI Friday's projects through its advertising as a place to go for an uninhibited, nonstop party."
After being unable to connect on one of the cell phones, a male employee offered his phone, and pressured the woman into the handicapped stall in the bathroom "where it was quieter." The young woman connected with a friend, at which point the registered sex offender "took his pants and underwear off, saying he would let her stay on the phone if she had sex with him." Ms. Doe refused, at which point, with her friend on the other line, the man attacked and raped the young woman.
The friend, meanwhile, had contacted Ms. Doe's parents, who arrived shortly after the rape. When she asked a female employee for her daughter, whom she described, the "woman told Ms. Doe's mother [and aunt] that Ms. Doe had been there but had left." At this point, Ms. Doe "ran out of the restaurant, screaming and crying."
As a result of the rape, Ms. Doe is suing for physical pain, mental anguish, pecuniary losses and medical expenses.
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