Customers, co-workers accuse former bar worker of sexual assault and rape

A former restaurant worker in Victoria is facing allegations of sexual assault and predatory behaviour from multiple women who shared their stories anonymously on social media.

In 11 individual cases, shared by the Instagram account ­Survivor Stories Project, women accuse a man who worked at Chuck’s Burger Bar of rape and sexual assault. Many of them say they were customers of the downtown Victoria bar.

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Several of the posts describe being encouraged or coerced to consume alcohol or cocaine and being physically assaulted. They describe a man who became violent when turned down, and who forced himself on women who were intoxicated and sometimes semi-conscious.

“I was brought up to his suite after a full night of his cocktails, to be thrown on the bed, and choked to the point where I almost fainted, pinning me down, aggressively trying to [rip] my clothing off,” one post reads.

A former co-worker says in a post she thought it was normal to be fed drinks by the man during her shift.

“His predatory behaviour escalated when he started grabbing me behind the bar at work, showing up to my other workplace and following me to my car in the parkade after shifts.”

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

In a statement on social media, Chuck’s Burger Bar said the former employee has denied the allegations, but they terminated the worker and are conducting an investigation into the allegations.

“The allegations against this former staff member are very serious, completely unacceptable, and we will be fully cooperating with the authorities with any investigation.”

Bar management said in the ­statement they were surprised by the complaints and were not aware of any concerning behaviour. They’re now reviewing their process of ­vetting new employees, improving training for new employees, improving customer feedback processes and working with human resources ­consultants.

Victoria police said they are aware of the allegations on social media and encourage anyone who wants to report an incident or who has information to share to contact them at 250-995-7654, extension 1.

“We want survivors of sexualized violence to know that we believe you. Know that you can report an incident when, where, and how you feel most safe,” Victoria police said in a statement.

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre provides 24/7 support to survivors of sexualized violence. The centre can be reached at 250-383-3232. Survivors can also report to an emergency room, a doctor, or a counsellor.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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