McDonald’s franchisee agrees to pay $4.4M after manager sexually assaulted teen

A franchisee of fast food giant McDonald’s has agreed to pay a teenage girl $4.4 million to settle her lawsuit over having been sexually assaulted by a Pittsburgh-area restaurant manager who was a registered sex offender, the victim’s lawyers announced on Monday.

The deal between the girl, who was 14 at the time of the 2021 sexual assault, and McDonald’s franchisee Rice Enterprises LLC, compensates her for the attack by Walter A. Garner in the restaurant bathroom.

At the time, Garner, now 44, had served prison time and was listed on the Megan’s Law website for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl.

Garner pleaded guilty in 2021 to statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and other charges for the McDonald’s assault and is serving a state prison sentence. A message seeking comment was left Monday for the public defenders who represented him in that case and in the 2003 case that was resolved with a guilty plea to aggravated indecent assault and other charges.

The lawsuit helped prompt an October 2021 strike by workers in 12 U.S. cities, an effort to get the company to better address what they described as an ongoing problem of sexual harassment and violence in McDonald’s stores.