Woman accuses Waffle House chair Rogers of sexual harassment

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 09, 2012 11:41 PM

By Basil Katz

(Reuters) - A Georgia woman has accused the chairman of the Waffle House restaurant chain of sexually harassing her for close to a decade while working as his personal aide and housekeeper.

The allegations against Joseph Rogers Jr were detailed in a police incident report published online on Friday by the Marietta Daily Journal.

The Atlanta police report, dated September 28, 2012, included lurid accusations of repeated sexual harassment from 2003, when the woman said she began to work for him, to May 2012.

David Cohen, a Marietta, Georgia, lawyer, told Reuters on Friday that he was one of the attorneys representing the woman and confirmed that she had filed the police report.

Cohen said his client had been sued by Rogers in a local court on Sept 14. His client filed a lawsuit against Rogers in a different court on September 19. Those cases are currently under seal and Reuters could not determine what allegations they contain.

"Waffle House is not a party to the case, its chairman is the party to the case," Cohen said, but declined further comment because of a court order barring him from speaking publicly about the cases.

Robert Ingram, a lawyer for Rogers, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A representative for the Atlanta Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for Waffle House said in a statement that "the alleged victim is a former housekeeper for Joe Rogers, and not an employee of Waffle House." The spokesman, Pat Warner, said Rogers had transitioned from being chief executive to chairman of the restaurant chain earlier this year.

The Norcross, Georgia-based Waffle House chain has more 1,500 locations in the Southern United States that are notable for being open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Rogers was a prominent Republican supporter in Georgia of Mitt Romney's failed presidential bid.

In her police report, the woman said that she had endured constant badgering by Rogers, who requested that she perform sexual favors for him, many of which she said she had refused.

She "was forced to endure the harassment and demeaning treatment by Rogers because she was a single mother and needed her job to support herself and her son," the report said.

The woman, identified as being 43 and from Acworth, Georgia, said she formally resigned from Rogers' employment in June, after her son had received a full college scholarship.

(Additional reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Eric Walsh)