Waffle House chairman admits consensual sex, alleges blackmail

Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:53pm EST

Nov 14 (Reuters) - The chairman of the Waffle House restaurant chain said he had consensual sex with a former housekeeper, but said she is 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," executive 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.

The woman filed the police report after being sued by Rogers in mid-September, her attorney said last week. Lawyer David Cohen said his client also had filed a lawsuit against Rogers.

Rogers' attorneys sought an injunction against the woman on Sept. 14 to block her from distributing videos she claimed depicted Rogers engaged in sex acts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Tuesday. The woman then filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, the paper said. The suits initially were filed under seal, but the newspaper said a judge ordered some documents to be unsealed on Tuesday.

In his statement, Rogers said the woman worked as his housekeeper from 2003 to 2008. She was rehired as his house manager in late 2009, a job she held until she quit in June 2012, he said.

"Over an almost eight-year period when I was separated, single and re-married, I had a series of infrequent, consensual sexual encounters with my housekeeper," Rogers said. "That was wrong of me, and I am very sorry for the pain and embarrassment I've caused my wife and family."

Rogers said he received a "threatening blackmail letter" from the housekeeper's attorney in July that contained "false allegations and strong threats." He said the attorneys indicated she wanted millions of dollars from Rogers.

Rogers said the housekeeper and her attorneys filed a false police report after he initiated legal proceedings against her.

"As personally embarrassing as this situation is for me, I am committed to the legal and law enforcement process to expose the motives of my former housekeeper and her attorneys," he said.

Cohen could not be immediately reached for comment by phone or email on Wednesday.

The Norcross, Georgia-based Waffle House chain has more 1,500 locations in the southern United States that are notable for being open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. (Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Leslie Adler)

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