|Judge: Sex Tapes Violated Waffle House Chairman's Privacy|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Jun 17, 2013, 10:19 AM|
A former housekeeper violated the Waffle House chairman's privacy by recording sex tapes of the two in an attempt to show that he allegedly demanded sex acts from her, a Georgia judge ruled.
"The defendant's arguments that she was a victim of the crime of sexual battery and was permitted to record plaintiff's actions to gather evidence of a crime is extremely unpersuasive to the court," Cobb County Court Judge Robert Leonard II wrote in the order.
Joe Rogers Jr.'s former housekeeper accused him last year of demanding that she perform sex acts on him as part of her duties over an eight-year period.
Rogers has admitted to an affair with the woman but denied assault claims and said he was a victim of blackmail.
As part of the case, the judge seized sexual recordings of the two that included a video and about 15 audio recordings, according to court documents.
The videotape was viewed in a closed court hearing before the judge decided it was unlawfully recorded and did not show a sexual assault, court documents filed Friday June 14 show.
"The video recording makes it clear that defendant was a willing participant in the sexual encounter and is not the victim of sexual battery," the judge wrote.
The judge's order allows for Rogers' attorneys to take a deposition from the woman, whom ABC News is not identifying because of the sexual harassment claims, to ask her specifically about the recordings.
"It's not a conclusive or final ruling," David Cohen, one of the woman's attorneys, told ABCNews.com. "It's a preliminary ruling, and we will take a look at it and decide how to proceed forward."
"Our job as counsel is to fulfill our client's wishes to let her story be heard by a jury," he said.
For the first time, details of how the woman recorded the sexual encounter were revealed.
The court document says that the defendant's attorneys met with her in a private investigator's office where the investigator ordered her a "spy camera" -- a camera disguised as a cellphone -- that would be used for the recording.
The judge said that the court did not make any findings about the attorneys' involvement in making the recording but said the court might look into it.
Rogers' attorney, Robert Ingram, said he has been wary of the tape and "questionable conduct" from the beginning, which he said he expressed to the woman's attorneys.
"I warned them that they were on very shaky ground in what they were doing, and I pointed out to them that making a video where someone has an expectation of privacy is in itself a felony in the state of Georgia," Ingram told ABCNews.com.
The former housekeeper accused Rogers of forcing her to perform "various sexual acts on him as a condition of her employment," according to the police report filed Sept. 28, 2012.
Rogers said in a statement that over a nearly eight-year period in which he was "separated, single and remarried," he had a "series of infrequent consensual encounters" with the woman.
"That was wrong of me, and I am very sorry for the pain and embarrassment I've caused my wife and family," he said. "There is no excuse for what I have done."
Rogers said the housekeeper worked for him from 2003 until 2008, when she was let go. He said that she reapplied for her job and was rehired as his house manager in late 2009, working in that position until she resigned in June 2012.
Rogers said that in July 2012, he received a letter from the woman's attorney's "containing false allegations and strong threats," and wanting "millions of dollars" from him.
Rogers claimed that he shared a "threatening blackmail letter" with his wife and hired attorneys to investigate. He said he initiated court proceedings in September 2012 and that the housekeeper and her attorneys responded with false allegations and a false police report.
The Waffle House chain was started in the 1950s by Rogers' father, Joe Rogers Sr., in Decatur, Ga., and has more than 1,500 restaurants. It is privately held.