A jury has awarded a woman $5.42 million in a lawsuit involving an alleged rape at Here Lounge.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Monica jury found Here Lounge guilty of negligence when one of its employees, Victor Cruz, assaulted the female news producer in March 2009.
The jury assessed Here with 40 percent of the damages and Cruz with 60 percent.
“This club turned a blind eye to sexual activity that was allowed to occur in the restroom area,” attorney John Taylor told the Times. “Although they had a stated policy of security guards being present in the bathrooms, they weren’t present at the time of the attack. The guards abandoned the place where most problems go on.”
The news producer was intoxicated when she went to Here, a gay club at 696 N. Robertson Blvd. south of Santa Monica. According to court documents, she was assaulted by Cruz in Here’s unisex bathroom.
Cruz was tried on criminal charges twice for the rape. At the first trial, the jury couldn’t reach a decision as to whether he was guilty. At the second trial he was found not guilty of rape.
Last year two women filed charges against The Abbey, the gay bar and restaurant next door to Here Lounge, alleging that they had been raped by Abbey employees in 2011. The women are seeking at least $10 million in damages in that suit, which hasn’t yet come to trial.
Here also has had to deal with charges by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Department that its male go go dancers violated “lewd conduct” regulations. The ABC Department closed Here during the month of December last year because of the alleged violations.