Two women have filed suit against owners of the Abbey, West Hollywood’s popular gay bar, alleging that they were served drinks spiked with a “rape drug” and were raped by Abbey employees.
The suit, filed yesterday in state Superior Court, identifies the plaintiffs as “Joanna Doe,” “Yvette Doe” and “David Doe,” pseudonyms used to protect their identity. It seeks damages of at least $10 million on behalf of the two women and damages of $500,000 on behalf of David Doe, who says the emotional damage inflicted by the alleged rape on Joanna Doe, his wife, means he has been “deprived of the right of consortium” with her.
The suit alleges that Joanna Doe visited the Abbey on April 14, 2011, with two girlfriends. An Abbey employee named Oscar Iraheta, the suit says, conspired with other employees to serve her a drink spiked with a date rape drug. With Doe unable to walk by herself or otherwise function normally, Iraheta then allegedly escorted her out the back door of the Abbey and across North Robertson Boulevard to a parking lot, where he raped her in his car. The lawsuit says that Iraheta was an undocumented immigrant at the time of the alleged incident who did not have the legal status to work in the United States. The lawsuit also says that management knew about his legal status.
On Nov. 7, 2011, the suit says Yvette Doe, who it identifies as a lesbian, visited the Abbey with a friend with whom she had an argument. The two separated, leaving Yvette Doe crying at one of the bars. The suit alleges that an unnamed Abbey employee served her a complimentary drink spiked with a date rape drug. Then he and another unnamed employee walked Yvette Doe out the back door of the Abbey, where they raped her.
The suit argues that Abbey managers were aware that women were being served such drinks and failed in their responsibility to provide security to their patrons.
When reached for response, the Abbey said in an official statement: “When the incident was brought to our attention, we cooperated fully with the local police on an investigation and no criminal charges were ever filed. We will continue to keep the safety of our customers and employees a top priority, as we have for the past 24 years.”
In response, Robert Hirsh, the Beverly Hills lawyer representing the women said, “I would suspect that the prosecutor didn’t properly do his job.”
Hirsh also said, “We suspect that there are other similarly situated victims and encourage them to come forward and contact us.”
The Abbey, founded as a coffeehouse in 1991 by David Cooley, has a national reputation as a gay lounge and restaurant. Elizabeth Taylor famously wandered into the Abbey for the occasional drink. The Abbey also was the setting for Logo’s “Wisecrack” TV series. Cooley and the Abbey have appeared in other Logo series such as “Open Bar” and “Jacob and Joshua: Nemesis Rising.” Cooley sold the Abbey in 2006 to SBE Entertainment Group but remains president of Abbey Restaurants and Bar.
Iraheta could not be reached for a response to the suit.