Mary Hagan, of Foster City, says on New Year's Eve 2011, Jose Mauricio Guicoy crept up behind her at Straits Burlingame, slapped one hand over her mouth and wrapped an arm around her chest. Guicoy, a dishwasher at the Singaporean chain restaurant, had his pants unzipped, belt unbuckled and began pulling her into a closet across from the bathroom.
But Hagan, 35, flailed her arms, kicked her legs and managed to break free. The struggle sent her attacker running, said chief deputy district attorney Karen Guidotti. She said Guicoy pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court to felony sexual battery in May and was sentenced a month later to two years in prison.
Now, Hagan's suit filed Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court, alleges Straits owners failed to perform a background or reference check on Guicoy. The suit claims the checks would have provided important clues about his "mental instability and propensity toward sexual assault." Since the attack Hagan has suffered "from high levels of anxiety, fear of people walking behind her, bad dreams, poor sleep, fear of going out at night and a reluctance to go out to public restaurants," wrote plaintiff attorney George Choulos. "It's every woman's nightmare."
Straits management said it's aware of an incident that occurred at the restaurant on New Year's Eve 2011, but declined further comment.
"We have not been served with a lawsuit," said Straits Human Resources Manager Cynthia
The suits makes specific reference to New Year's Eve 2011 around 8:30 p.m. when Hagan went to use the Straits public restroom. The complaint says the room is "creepy" and "dungeon-like." Further it notes that the bathroom sits in the basement, at the end of a poorly lit hallway, without security cameras, across from a storage closet, "where a criminal might lurk." Finding the restroom already occupied, Hagan was waiting in the hallway when she was attacked from behind, Guidotti said. When she fought back, the suspect took off running and was recognized by restaurant staff as a dishwasher. The restaurant manager told police where he lived, said Guidotti.
Prosecutors issued a warrant for Guicoy's arrest Jan. 20 and officers took him into custody at his home March 12, 2012, said Burlingame police Capt. Mike Matteucci. Guicoy was later arraigned on one felony county each of assault with intent to commit rape and false imprisonment, and one felony and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery.
All but the felony sexual battery charge was dropped as part of a plea bargain, Guidotti said. He must register for life as a sex offender.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.