By Colleen Jenkins
(Reuters) - The chairman of the Waffle House restaurant chain acknowledged he had consensual sexual encounters with a former housekeeper, but said she was now falsely accusing him of sexual harassment for her own financial gain.
"I am a victim of my own stupidity, but I am not going to be a victim of a crime - extortion," Joe Rogers Jr. said in a statement provided by his attorney on Wednesday.
A Georgia woman filed a police report in late September that included lurid accusations of repeated sexual harassment by Rogers from 2003 to May 2012.
The 43-year-old woman said in the report that she endured constant badgering by Rogers, who requested that she perform sexual favors for him, many of which she said she had refused.
According to the report, she put up with such treatment because she needed the job to support herself and her son, but resigned in June after her son got a full college scholarship.
Rogers' attorneys sought an injunction against the woman on September 14 to block her from distributing videos she said depicted Rogers engaged in sex acts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The woman countered with a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. The suits initially were filed under seal, but a judge on Tuesday ordered the case records to be unsealed and lifted a gag order on the attorneys.
But the judge ordered that all audio and video evidence turned over to the court by the parties on Wednesday remain under seal.
The former housekeeper's attorney, David Cohen, said on Wednesday the sexual encounters did not include intercourse but involved masturbation, as well as attempts by Rogers to engage in further sex acts.
"We understand that he obviously will try to spin his wrongful actions is some positive light," Cohen told Reuters. "We believe attempting to attack the victim will only make matters worse and that the parties need to let a jury decide the issues."
"The sexual acts were not consensual," he added. Continued...