TGI Friday's is facing charges of gross negligence for a horrifying 2011 incident in which a 17-year-old girl asking to use the restaurant phone was brutally raped and beaten by a company employee, a man later found to be a registered sex offender.
While the unidentified assailant pled guilty to the crime in July 2012 and remains in prison, his victim — whose is listed only as Jane Doe — still struggles with recurring nightmares and has regressed into what court documents call "childhood habits she had long since abandoned." She is suing TGI Friday's in a petition filed by Houston super attorney Rusty Hardin, who is known for winning high-profile cases for celebrity clients like Roger Clemens and Adrian Peterson.
The rape victim in this case is asking for damages for pain and anguish.
"She went from being an outgoing high school cheerleader to a young girl terrified of leaving home," the civil suit states.
"She went from being an outgoing high school cheerleader to a young girl terrified of leaving home," the civil suit says, noting that the terrifying incident occurred only two days before her high school senior prom.
Around 2 a.m. in May 2011, the teenager stopped by a TGI Friday's at 19403 Gulf Freeway in Webster with the hope of using a phone to contact her mother or a friend for a ride. Though the restaurant was closed, several employees sat at the bar after an evening at a sexually-oriented business to celebrate a manager's birthday.
A female employee at the bar offered the teenager her cellphone, but the young woman was unable to reach her friend. The bartender poured her a shot, although she refused the drink it in spite of the group's encouragement.
Seeing she was upset, a male employee walked her away from the bar to use his phone.
The lawsuit claims that TGI Friday's neglected to conduct a quick Internet background check that would have identified its employee as a registered sex offender.
He led her to a handicapped stall in the men's room, where he said it was quieter than the restaurant. As she called a second time, the man offered her money for sex and removed his pants. When she refused, he proceeded to overpower her and attack as the cellphone call remained connected and her friend on the other end heard the entire rape.
The friend on the phone called the teenager's mother, who arrived at the restaurant to be greeted by a female employee who said her daughter was no longer there. Not believing the woman, the mother called 911 and sat in the parking lot until the teenage girl ran from the restaurant bleeding and disheveled, saying that the man had raped her.
The lawsuit claims that TGI Friday's neglected to conduct a quick Internet background check that would have identified its employee as a registered sex offender since 2005. At least one other worker at the restaurant knew of his status.
Neither TGI Friday's nor the girl's legal team were immediately available for comment.