Family sues after teen raped at restaurant

Registered sex offender confesses to rape at TGI Friday's

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

WEBSTER, Texas - A local teen and her family are suing a national restaurant chain after she was raped inside a restroom stall.

The incident happened in May 2011, when the teenage girl was looking for a phone and went inside the TGI Friday's on the Gulf Freeway in Webster. She walked in on an after-hours party that included the restaurant's general manager and several employees who, according to court papers, had been drinking heavily and partying it up at a strip club.

According to the lawsuit, one of the employees, Joshua Rooker, a registered sex offender, lured the teen into the bathroom stall where he let her use his cellphone to call a friend and then attacked her.

"Unbeknown to the rapist, he hears the entire dialogue including her crying and yelling please don't and so on," said attorney Rusty Hardin.

According to court papers "she was repeatedly yelling ... he demanded that she be quiet and covered her mouth. He overpowered her, pinned her down and raped her on the bathroom floor."

"She had enough presence of mind during the attack to say don't do this here at TGI Friday's, so that's how he knew where to tell the parents where he believed she was."

The lawsuit states Rooker, who registered in Harris County as a sex offender in 2005, confessed to raping the girl and pleaded guilty last July. Court papers claim at least one other employee knew he was a registered sex offender, though it's unclear if TGI Friday's conducted a background check.

"If they did do a background check, they were really negligent in allowing the situation to exist. If they didn't do one, then they were really negligent for not doing one," Hardin said. 

A TGI Friday's representative said, "We are currently reviewing the allegations contained in the lawsuit and are unable to discuss elements of the filing during this process."

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