Teen sues Chipotle for alleged workplace sex assault

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The restaurant chain Chipotle is the target of another legal battle. This time it's over allegations of sexual assault against a manager. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The restaurant chain, Chipotle, is the target of another legal battle, this one over allegations of sexual assault at a west Houston location.

The alleged victim, a former employee at the Chipotle on Eldridge Parkway, is suing her then-assistant manager, general manager and the chain itself, claiming the restaurant allowed it to happen. The case is scheduled for trial next month. Eyewitness News is not identifying the managers because they have not been charged with a crime. However, Houston police say they are aware of the allegations.

The alleged victim's attorney says she filed a police report.

"We're talking about sexual assault of a minor child. She was 16 years old," said Adrian Villacorta, the plaintiff's attorney.

The teen took a job at the "energy corridor" Chipotle in November 2013 to earn her own money. Five months later, according to the lawsuit, her assistant manager started touching her inappropriately and sexually assaulting her -- sometimes at the restaurant. Villacorta says her then-general manager became aware and did nothing to stop it.

"We believe we have sufficient evidence to show that the general manager knew," Villacorta said.

The alleged victim is now a college student. Villacorta believes the accused manager has left the country, though he has a lawyer who filed a response to the lawsuit denying all allegations of inappropriate contact.

Neither Chipotle nor its lawyer responded to our request for comment. Their court filing "denies any wrongdoing."

Villacorta is asking for at least a million dollars in damages and losses. He says his client has suffered emotionally and will continue to.

"We feel an employer has an obligation to provide a safe working environment," said Villacorta, "especially when the employer knows the employee is a minor."
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