FULLERTON, Calif. - A bar in Fullerton is suing two women for libel and slander after one of them claimed she was drugged at the bar and later raped.
JP23 Urban Kitchen filed the lawsuit saying the woman made false statements on social media.
On August 1st, 22-year-old college student Samantha Velasquez said she was having
drinks with friends at JP23 and claims she was drugged and later raped. A rape kit found that Velasquez had suffered blunt trauma.
Following the incident, Velasquez encouraged the Fullerton City Council to shut down JP23 citing that similar incidents have occurred there before. Velasquez also expressed her frustration with the bar on social media and in August a small community protest was held outside of JP23.
In the lawsuit filed by JP23, the restaurant says Velasquez intentionally made false and dangerously reckless statements and posted them to social media.
The lawsuit states, "Samantha Velasquez took to social media and broadcasted intentionally and falsely and dangerously reckless statements that she was drugged and raped at JP23 Urban Kitchen. She also made intentional, false and reckless statements that were interpreted by her audience that a JP23 employee had possession of her phone and JP23 would not disclose or describe the individual who drugged and raped her. Velasquez further stated falsely, intentionally and recklessly that JP23 has a reputation for drugging, raping and leaving girls. Velasquez further stated intentionally and recklessly that according to the police this is not the first time this has happened [drugging and raping]. Velasquez further stated intentionally and recklessly that this is why JP23 is constantly changing owners and that an employee of JP23 told her that the same thing happened to her and that JP23 choose to ignore it."
According to the lawsuit, Velasquez shared her thoughts on JP23 to her followers online… affecting the reputation of the restaurant.
The lawsuit states the second defendant as Justine Flores.
According to the written complaint, Flores shared and reposted Velasquez’ statement to social media. The complaint mentions that Flores operates "more than one Instagram account dedicated to posting statements regarding JP23". The lawsuit states that Flores posted additional defamatory statements, calling JP23 and its staff rapists.
"She created a hashtag, "#ArrestJP23rapist" and made a statement that, 40+ have come forward after being drugged/kidnapped/raped/and robbed by staff…at JP23. Flores further posted the statement that, bartenders (male and female) got paid to roofie people to sexually assault them," the lawsuit read.
JP23 continues to deny any wrongdoing by its staff, saying all statement made by both defendants are false.
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