Woman sues Midtown restaurant over rape allegations

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HOUSTON – A woman is suing Brennan's of Houston after she said she was raped by a bartender at the restaurant in 2015.

The woman is a Houston lawyer and partner at a large international law firm. She has practiced law for 12 years, according to the lawsuit. Since she is the victim of a sexual crime, KPRC2 has opted not to reveal her identity.

According to the lawsuit, the woman said she and a co-worker went to Brennan's about 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2015. They sat in the bar's patio area, the lawsuit said. When her co-worker left around 6:45 p.m., the lawsuit said, the woman stayed at the restaurant to eat dinner at the bar.

Sean Kerrigan was the only bartender working at Brennan's that night, according to the lawsuit, and he was the only person who served her.

The lawsuit said that almost immediately after her co-worker left, Kerrigan spilled the woman's drink and replaced it with a bourbon-based drink for free. The lawsuit alleges that Kerrigan drugged the woman with the bourbon-based drink.

The woman doesn't remember finishing the drink and has almost no recollection of what happened from 6:45 p.m. on, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said that surveillance video was reviewed and it shows the woman at the bar, where Kerrigan served her food and several more drinks.

According to the lawsuit, a manager at Brennan's and an unknown woman joined the woman at the bar, but the woman has no memory of meeting them. KPRC2 has opted not to identify the manager since he has not been charged with a crime.

Around midnight, surveillance video showed the woman, who was obviously impaired, according to the lawsuit, being led out of Brennan's by Kerrigan, the manager and the unknown woman.

The lawsuit said the woman was taken to a neighboring bar before Kerrigan and the manager took her to her home. The lawsuit said the woman has no recollection of arriving home.

The woman's next memory was when she regained consciousness at some point before dawn, nude, with Kerrigan on top of her, "forcibly engaging in very rough" sex, according to the lawsuit. The woman drifted in and out of consciousness during the assaults, the lawsuit said.

When the woman woke up the next morning, she was still naked in bed and Kerrigan and the manager pulled the covers off her and laughed, according to the lawsuit.

The woman was still disoriented, and, according to the lawsuit, Kerrigan continued to attack her -- "pushing her down on her back porch and groping her breasts and genitals" while she fought back, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit said the men left when they became concerned that a neighbor might hear the commotion.

The woman later found out that Kerrigan and the manager stole prescription medicine and money from her purse, the lawsuit said.

The woman went to an area hospital and reported the details of the previous evening, according to the lawsuit. She underwent several tests, which confirmed significant injuries consistent with rape, the lawsuit said.

On July 19, 2018, Kerrigan was indicted for felony aggravated sexual assault in connection with the woman's rape. He was also indicted for the felony sexual assault of another victim, the lawsuit said.

On Nov. 15, 2018, Kerrigan died in Houston from an unknown cause, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said that, prior to hiring Kerrigan, Brennan's didn't complete a background check on him. Kerrigan had recently moved to Houston from the New York/New Jersey area, where he had a criminal record, the lawsuit said. The manager was a longtime employee at the restaurant and gradually rose to higher positions, despite committing several infractions related to alcohol, the lawsuit said.

The woman, according to the lawsuit, "continues to suffer extreme emotional distress from her rape and the aftermath." On Aug. 17, 2018, the woman took a medical leave from her firm and is currently undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit said.

The manager is accused in the lawsuit of aiding and abetting sexual assault and battery.