The family of a 14-year-old Pennsylvania girl is suing the McDonald’s Corporation after they claimed that her manager sexually harassed her and then raped her.
According to a Tuesday report from KDKA-TV, the family — who remains unnamed at the time of this reporting — filed the lawsuit on Tuesday.
What are the details?
Attorney Alan Perer told the station that the family alleges that the 42-year-old manager of the Bethel Park McDonald’s location in Pittsburgh — who was identified as Walter A. Garner — raped the child in a store bathroom.
The suit, which alleges that Garner is a convicted juvenile sex assault offender, states that the company ought to have known that Garner once reportedly served prison time after pleading guilty to 2003 charges of the indecent assault of a 10-year-old girl.
“She was raped,” Perer said. “He did also pressure her to have sexual contact with him outside the McDonald’s. He attempted to engage in sex with her in the store on another occasion and she refused. She’s confused, she’s seeking counseling.”
The suit also names Rice Enterprises, a limited liability corporation that owns the franchise in question, as equally responsible, and notes that the franchisee was “also aware of surveillance video showing Garner groping the girl.”
Other young employees reportedly also complained of harassment and propositioning at the hands of Garner.
“Making comments, making advances, and the response was nothing,” Perer said. “They didn’t get rid of him. They didn’t chastise him. They didn’t supervise him.”
Authorities arrested Garner in April on unrelated charges after he reportedly showed pornography to another minor. It was during this investigation that authorities learned of the rape allegation from the 14-year-old girl.
Garner is in custody at the Allegheny County Prison in lieu of a $75,000 total bond awaiting trial on all charges.
“She doesn’t understand it, a 42-year-old manager doing these things to you, grooming you. It’s just horrible,” Perer said of the purported incident.
In a statement, Michele Rice of Rice Enterprises and the franchise’s owner-operator said, “The allegations made in the lawsuit are deeply disturbing – my organization has no tolerance for sexual harassment, and we terminated the employee in question as soon as we learned about a complaint against him. While all of our employees undergo safe and respectful workplace training upon hire, we’ve recently expanded our training to be bi-annual, in addition to adding enhanced security measures at our restaurants. We have offered our full support to the impacted employee and are fully cooperating with the police investigation into these allegations.”
Newsweek reports that they reached out to McDonald’s for comment on the pending litigation, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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Author: Sarah Taylor
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