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Family Says Wendy’s Hired Sexual Predator

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - A Wendy's manager raped a girl twice "in the restaurant during working hours," and the company knew he was a sexual predator, the girl claims court.

Jane Doe and her father claim Jane was 16 when Wendy's manager Carlos Castillo raped her at work. Castillo raped and falsely imprisoned her "by restraining her from moving and holding her legs apart as he forcibly sexually assaulted her," according to the complaint.

Wendy's knew he was a "sexual predator" because it had fired him from another South Texas outlet for engaging "in the same sort of acts of sexual harassment against female Wendy's employees that he engaged in against plaintiff," the family says in the complaint.

The Does sued Wendy's International, the franchise owners South-Wen and Exelco, and Castillo, in Cameron County Court.

Castillo was 47 when he raped Jane, the complaint states. He arrested in November and is in jail awaiting trial on charges of indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child, according to county records.

South-Wen and Exelco, both based at the same address in Laredo, "operate a chain of Wendy's and other fast food restaurants that hire and supervise minor 'child workers,' like plaintiff Jane Doe," the complaint states.

"During the entire time of plaintiff Jane Doe's employment, Castillo continuously engaged in various acts of sexual harassment and assault (consisting of unwanted touching and lewd and sexually suggestive comments) at the Boca Chica Wendy's against plaintiff culminating in two episodes where plaintiff Jane Doe was raped by him," the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.) "Both rapes occurred in the restaurant during working hours. The last rape occurred on or about September 23, 2011."

Boca Chica is a major thoroughfare in Brownsville.

The complaint continues: "Castillo had previously been employed at another Wendy's restaurant on Morrison Road in Brownsville, also owned by defendants South-Wen and Exelco. During that previous employment he also continuously engaged in the same sort of acts of sexual harassment against female Wendy's employees that he engaged in against plaintiff. Numerous complaints were made by various of these victims to Wendy's management, including the area supervisor of Wendy's restaurants in Brownsville and Harlingen. Carlos Castillo's employment at the Morrison Road location was terminated prior to the incidents involving plaintiff.

"Despite knowing that Carlos Castillo was a sexual predator, based on the numerous complaints lodged with defendants South-Wen and Exelco management, defendants South-Wen and Exelco re-hired him approximately six months later at the Boca Chica location after which the sexual harassment and assaults were perpetrated against plaintiff Jane Doe."

Wendy's and its franchisees never should have rehired Castillo, "given the fact that it would be employing teenage girls and known sexual predators to work together," the complaint states.

"With even the slightest level of diligence, Wendy's knew or should have known South-Wen was unfit to be a Wendy's franchisee. The breach of this duty was a proximate cause of the injuries and damages of Jane Doe."

The family claims the defendants also failed "to check a prospective manager's possible listing on the Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Database."

They seek punitive damages for negligence and employment discrimination.

They are represented by Robert Collins of Houston, and Robert Whittington with Sanchez, Whittington, Zabarte & Wood, of Brownsville.

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