McDonald's sued in connection with sexual assault case

Wichita Falls_A Wichita Falls man is accused of sexually assaulting one of his teenage McDonald's employees on several occasions.  Attorneys for the alleged victim say that McDonald's should be held responsible.  The lawyers say that the world's largest fast food chain - along with its Wichita Falls franchise owner - are guilty of negligent hiring and management, and false imprisonment.

The man accused of the assaults, former McDonald's Manager Jeffrey Wise, now faces criminal charges, and investigators believe that there are multiple victims. Police say that a parent of a 16-year-old former McDonald's worker contacted authorities after hearing that their daughter and 41-year-old Wise had some sort of sexual contact.  Attorneys for the girl say that Wise should have never been permitted to work at McDonald's.

Prior to his employment at the McDonald's inside the Wal-Mart on Lawrence Road in the Falls, authorities say that Wise worked at a Braum's Restaurant on Jacksboro Highway, where he was fired after two underage female employees claimed he had attempted to lure them to tape a sex video for money.  Following his dismissal, police launched an investigation, but Wise was never charged with the crime, and did not have a criminal record, so, according to attorney Rick Bunch, he also had no problem finding a new job.  "The fact is McDonald's had a duty and a responsibility to check this guy out before they put him into that position, and they failed to do so," says Bunch.  He says a phone call to Braum's would have raised a red flag.  "Is this guy eligible for rehire?  'No.' Can you tell me why? 'No.' Well, that's good enough for me.  I don't want to hire the guy to be monitoring over children and minor employees - that's just wrong," said Bunch.

Because Bunch and Attorney Jeff McKnight say McDonald's failed to conduct a background or reference check, their client eventually had to pay the price of performing numerous sex acts for, and with, Wise - at work, and at his home.  "There's going to be short-term, long-term damage," says McKnight.  "There's the emotional issues any sexual assault victim is going to go through, and she's going to have to deal with all of those."  The civil case against McDonald's was filed on Friday, and attorneys will not say how much money they are seeking for their client.

Over the course of the criminal investigation, police say they found two more teens who claim to have been forced to have sexual contact with Wise when they were young girls in the mid to late 1990s.  Wise faces charges of indecency with a child in those cases.  He remains in the Wichita County jail, and his bond is approximately $2 million.

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