A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Dallas County accuses a Rowlett Little Caesars manager of repeatedly raping a 16-year-old coworker over a five-month span last year.
Thaddeus Tyjuan Hooper is accused of coercing the victim into having sex with him, according to the lawsuit, while both were on duty at the pizza chain, between August and December of 2017.
The incidents are alleged to have happened both at the store and off premises in a vacant grocery store parking lot, the lawsuit claims.
Hooper allegedly impregnated the victim in mid-September, according to the lawsuit.
A series of alleged harassment started soon after the victim started working at Little Caesars Rowlett. Hooper “inappropriately touched” the victim and admitted to her that he’d had sex with other minor employees at the store, according to the lawsuit.
The suit, which names Hooper along with multiple Little Caesars corporate entities, claims the victim told a coworker about Hooper’s actions after he texted her a photo of his genitals. A supervisor overheard the complaint, the suit alleges, and she did nothing about it.
The supervisor said “something to the effect of ‘That’s just Tad, get used to it,'" the lawsuit states.
The assaults escalated in early August, when “Hooper, uncontrolled, unmanaged, inadequately supervised and improperly retained by [his employer], coerced the victim into having sexual intercourse and other forms of criminally illegal sexual contact with him,” according to the lawsuit.
She had been transferred to a different Little Caesars location in Lake Highlands when Hooper impregnated her, the lawsuit reads, and he allegedly told her to terminate the pregnancy because he was “afraid of going to jail.”
The victim was still pregnant as of the filing of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also accuses Hooper of selling marijuana at or near the Rowlett Little Caesars location and asked the victim to sell drugs for him at her high school.
Little Caesars Lakeview, LLC, Caesars of DFW, LLC, and Larry Collins, Inc. are accused of intentional infliction of emotional distress as well as negligent hiring, supervision, training or retention of an employee, according to the lawsuit.
The company “routinely employed girls of ages less than seventeen (17) years to work different jobs in their Little Caesars pizza restaurants," the lawsuit states. "These young girls frequently work with and are managed by men who are 10 or more years older, of limited education, and who are more likely to sexually prey on the young girls’ inexperience, sexual and emotional immaturity and vulnerabilities."
"While I can’t comment on pending litigation, we take this extremely seriously," said Jill Proctor, a spokeswoman for Little Caesars. "We have a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault and any type of inappropriate sexual behavior."
According to the lawsuit, the victim's legal team seeks more than $1 million in damages.