PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The family of a 14-year-old girl who is suing the McDonald’s Corporation wants to know how the store’s manager got the job in the first place.
The alleged rape of the 14-year-old girl at a Bethel Park McDonald’s is the focus of a lawsuit saying the fast-food giant and the store’s independent owner knew — or should have known — the store manager, Walter A. Garner, was a convicted juvenile sex offender before hiring him to supervise young girls.READ MORE: Suspect In Florida Arrested After Allegedly Making Threat To Greater Latrobe Junior High School
“You couldn’t have done a background check. Two seconds, I get on Megan’s List and see this guy,” said attorney Alan Perer.
Garner had a 2003 conviction of indecently assaulting a 10-year-old girl — a crime posted on Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law website.
Bethel Park Police investigated and arrested Garner after the 15-year-old victim made a complaint to the resource officer at her school. She told police that Garner showed her a picture of a naked girl, a friend and fellow co-worker who turned out to be the 14-year-old girl Garner is now accused of raping.
“This led to the more serious charges being filed about the second victim,” said Bethel Park Police Chief Timothy O’Conner.
The McDonald’s in Bethel Park is one of 8 owned and operated by Rice Enterprises, a limited liability corporation based in Allegheny County. In a statement on Tuesday, owner-operator Michelle Rice said she took swift action.READ MORE: Boy, 12, Dies After Collapsing At Chartiers Valley Middle School Basketball Practice
“The allegations made in the lawsuit are deeply disturbing — my organization has no tolerance for sexual harassment, and we terminated the employee in question as soon as we learned about a complaint against him. … We have offered our full support to the impacted employee and are fully cooperating with the police investigation.”
Perer said he’s heard from several new young girl employees who said they made repeated complaints about Garner to the store’s management even before these incidents occurred.
“He tried to force this one girl into his car, he made comments to all of them to come to his house, he touched them,” Perer said.
Chief O’Connor said even though Garner is already facing close to a dozen charges, police want to talk with any other victims as the investigation is continuing.
“We take all complaints of abuse against children very seriously. Children are the most valuable asset we have out there in the community, and we’re going to protect them,” said O’Connor.MORE NEWS: Flight Attendant Attacked By Passenger, Flight From New York's JFK To John Wayne Airport Diverts To Denver
No additional comment on Thursday from McDonald’s or Rice Enterprises. And going forward, there may not be as this matter is headed to court.