CHICAGO (CBS) — A Near North Side restaurant and nightclub is at the center of two sexual assault lawsuits.
Last week, a 22-year-old woman accused staff and security guards at El Hefe Chicago of throwing her out into the alley behind the restaurant, and standing by as she was sexually assaulted.
The woman’s lawsuit claims she was visiting Chicago while on vacation from Texas in October, when she went to El Hefe, and started feeling sick after a man bought her drinks. She said security guards took her out back, and stood by and did nothing while the man who had bought the drinks came out of the bar, led her up the alley, and sexually assaulted her behind some dumpsters.
In a statement, El Hefe said its employees did not witness any sexual assault while the first woman was in the alley, claiming security stayed with her until an ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital.
“What we understand this woman has alleged is extremely troubling. Any instances involving crimes of violence, sexual or otherwise, are abhorrent,” the club said in a statement on Facebook.
“After we were notified of the incident and following a preliminary review, we were able to determine:
“On the evening of October 18, a female guest became ill inside El Hefe and, per the venue’s standard protocol, was escorted by our security team to the back exit. A male guest followed the female guest as she was escorted out back. El Hefe called an ambulance for the female guest and security remained with her until she left, alone, on the ambulance. During this time, our security team did not witness an assault in the alley. The male guest went back inside the venue and minutes later security witnessed the male guest leave the premises through the front door.”
Chicago police have confirmed there were signs of trauma after an exam was performed on the woman.
On Monday, another woman will file a lawsuit against the club, also claiming she was sexually assaulted at El Hefe. Her attorneys plan to hold a news conference to discuss what happened to her.