Temecula old town restaurant accused of authorizing sexual assault of teenage employees – press enterprise
A restaurant and bar in Temecula’s old town tolerated and did not discourage patrons from harassing and sexually assaulting high school girls who worked there, according to a new legal complaint.
According to the lawsuit filed in Riverside Superior Court on June 18, Be Good Temecula Restaurant & Experience “hires sympathetic and attractive underage girls.” It “then forces them to wear tight clothes and serve alcohol to customers who are often drunk and disorderly”, alleges the complaint. “These bosses regularly harass and offer hostesses and create a hostile work environment. “
The complaint alleges that customers sexually assaulted and harassed employees at work and after their shifts, following them to their cars in a parking lot far from the restaurant. When employees complained, officials told hostesses to get weapons, the complaint says. The bar bouncer refused to escort employees to their cars, according to the court document.
The girls were groped and subjected to obscene advances from customers, the complaint alleges on behalf of a former hostess, aged 17 and between her middle and high school years when she was hired. Customers are allowed to remain on the premises, according to the complaint, as officials say berating or evicting them would be bad for the restaurant, which opened in July 2020.
On September 5, 2020, a client, Abraham Casillas of Chandler, Arizona, was there with a group after work, according to the complaint. Casillas had made obscene comments to the hostesses, asked one of them to participate in a threesome with him and his wife and attempted to touch or hug hostesses without their permission, according to the complaint. Then, according to the complaint, he grabbed the complainant and digitally penetrated her through her pants.
A manager evicted Casillas and told the complainant that she was “ready to leave” to return to work in the restaurant, according to the complaint. The teenager says she spent the rest of her shift crying in the employee washroom.
Anthony Bennett, owner of Be Good, wrote in an email Friday, July 2 that the restaurant was re-examining the incident. Be Good would have a statement once the investigation is completed, he wrote.
Casillas, who is named the accused, declined to comment on Thursday, July 1 and said he had not been served with the prosecution. Complaints must be served on defendants within 60 days of filing.
Casillas’ former employer, Chandler-based Koman Construction, is also named in the lawsuit. Lawyers for the plaintiff said Thursday they would remove Koman from the lawsuit, having learned that Casillas was not working for the company at the time of the alleged incident.
The complaint alleges that Be Good management refused to call the police after the assault. But the teenager’s father did, said attorney Bob Semnar, of the Temecula law firm of Semnar & Hartman. Casillas refused to speak to Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, Semnar said. The sheriff’s department would not release the incident report, saying on Friday the investigation was still open.
According to the complaint, Be Good violated California law that requires those who serve alcohol to be 21, requires its high school employees to work longer and later than permitted by state law, and violated safety precautions in the event of a coronavirus pandemic.
The girl’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and for Be Good to institute anti-sexual harassment training and policies.
Editor’s Note: This complaint includes graphic details of an alleged sexual assault.