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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Waitress Says Trainer Drugged & Abused Her

CAMDEN, N.J. (CN) - A trainer for The Cheesecake Factory drugged and sexually assaulted a waitress, took nude photos of her and showed them around, the woman claims in court.

The waitress, D, sued Grand Lux Café, a wholly owned subsidiary of co-defendant The Cheesecake Factory, in Camden County Court.

D claims that one week before the grand opening of a Grand Lux Café in Cherry Hill, N.J., the chain flew in a number of employees, including Francis De Los Hoyas, to train the new serving staff.

De Los Hoyos is not named as an individual defendant, but he is named throughout the complaint.

"On the evening of Monday, July 16, 2012, after work, plaintiff [D] went with her friend, who was also employed by defendants, and her friend's boyfriend to a local bar. On the way to the bar, the boyfriend stopped to pick up De Los Hoyas at his hotel to go to the bar with them," according to the complaint.

"All that plaintiff [D] recalls about that evening is being at the bar for about 1½ hours and drinking two beers. Plaintiff does not remember anything else from that night. The first thing plaintiff recalls is waking up around 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon the next day, Tuesday, July 17, 2012, in De Los Hoyas's bed in a room at the motel where the designated trainers were staying while they were in New Jersey. (Defendants paid for the hotel room.) She did not know how she had gotten there or what had happened. She was, however, sick and throwing up violently.

"When she woke up, De Los Hoyas was in the room and asked plaintiff [D] if he could take her home. She said yes, and he responded by telling her to go down the back stairwell and wait for him outside the building because he did not want any of the other trainers to see him with plaintiff. There was virtually no other conversation between De Los Hoyas and plaintiff."

Still sick, D says, she slept until 9 p.m. that night.

The next day, a Wednesday, when she went to work, "another server said she needed to talk to her, privately, and took her into the bathroom," according to the complaint. "The other server told plaintiff that someone at work had shown her, on his cell phone, a picture of plaintiff naked, which picture had been taken by De Los Hoyas on his cell phone, and that the picture was being circulated among other trainers and employees."

D, "understandably upset," notified the head trainer and the general manager of the Grand Lux Café, neither of whom investigated, nor did they discuss the matter with her other than once asking her if she needed counseling, according to the complaint.

She also went to the Mount Laurel Police Department to report what had happened. "A detective took plaintiff to the hospital to be examined and to do a rape kit. plaintiff was advised that semen was detected in her vagina," although D says she had not had sex for a period of time before or after the incident.

"The detective told her that although too many days had gone by to detect drugs in her blood system, he believed that she had been given rohypnol, the date-rape drug commonly known as a 'Rufie,'" according to the complaint.

D claims that De Los Hoyas was arrested in August in Florida and charged with aggravated sexual assault, reckless endangerment and invasion of privacy.

D seeks punitive damages for discrimination and negligence.

She is represented by Jill Fisher, with Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer & Toddy, of Marlton, N.J.

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