Local News

Former employee accuses BBQ exec of sexual assault

Posted June 26, 2008
Updated June 27, 2008

— A civil lawsuit filed Thursday in Wake County claims that the founder of the Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q chain sexually assaulted a former male employee.

The man who filed the lawsuit says that he worked as a butler for Gregory Moore, the CEO of Smithfield Management Corp., or his companies for around five years.

The lawsuit accuses Moore of "invidious and malicious sexual assault and battery, false imprisonment, sexual harassment and discrimination in employment, wrongful discharge and intentional infliction  of emotional distress."

David Harris, a representative of Smithfield Management Corp., said Moore was innocent of the accusations made in the lawsuit.

"Mr. Moore will defend himself vigorously," Harris said. "He will restore his good name."

According to the lawsuit, the butler was injured in a motorcycle wreck and discharged into Moore's care in early 2007. He stayed at Moore's house while recovering from brain and leg injuries.

The butler claims that one night when he was heavily medicated, Moore climbed into his bed and anally penetrated him.

The suit alleges that Moore repeatedly made sexual advances to the butler during his employment and threatened to fire him if he did not comply. The assault was the only sexual contact between the men, the lawsuit claims.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

Harris said Moore does not plan to comment further until his lawyers have the opportunity to read over the lawsuit.

The suit was filed by the law offices of Anna E. Smith and Hairston Lane Brannon, PA – the same group of attorneys that successfully represented Jason Hallaman, a former personal assistant to Moore, in a sexual harassment suit in fall 2007. Hallaman claimed that Moore fired him when he rebuffed his boss' sexual advances several times.

Moore settled out of court for over $1 million and denied any wrongdoing throughout the trial.

Moore opened the first Smithfield's restaurant in 1980 with his former wife and is chief executive of Smithfield Management Corp., which operates the chain of 32 restaurants across eastern North Carolina.


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  • FragmentFour Jun 27, 2008

    "Mr. Moore will defend himself vigorously," Harris said. "He will restore his good name."--WRAL

    He's got a rough road ahead of him there, Mr. Harris. His good name seems to have been gone for a long time.

  • PaulRevere Jun 27, 2008

    Please...this story is beyond absurd. It's like something off of "Bold and Beautiful". Gimme a break! I hope I'm on that jury.

  • rcrdngcountry Jun 27, 2008


  • doodad Jun 27, 2008

    Then again if he was not heterosexual, that does not give Moore the right to assault him agaist his will.

    Odd how the law would consider this crimes against nature between same sexes instead of rape when the Supreme Court votes against the sodomy law and same sex marriage is being pushed. I'm very confused.

  • doodad Jun 27, 2008

    What I don't get is, with sexual discrimination laws as they are, if a co-worker or employer propositions you and you are not interested, if you make it known more than one time to leave you alone, you have reason to bring charges against them.

    But, if you hit the sack in agreement once then filed for sexual harrassment, then you have no case.

    Bottom line, if someone wants your affections and you are not interested, have the gutts to tell them to get lost.

    If this guy was a hot blooded heterosexual male and knew he was assaulted while incapacitated, I would THINK that he would beat the snot out of this man when he was physically able, boss or not.

  • dryhumper Jun 27, 2008

    How many men did this guy assault?

    Every time I drive by one of these Smithfield BBQ places I throw up in my mouth. Sodomy should be illegal!

  • Adelinthe Jun 27, 2008

    Well, I was about to say I didn't believe the butler - UNTIL I saw that another former male employee won a ONE MILLION DOLLAR settlement from Moore for the same thing.

    So now I'm thinking - "Where there's smoke, there's fire - and I don't mean at the restaurants."

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Boo Jun 27, 2008

    Yes jf, I still want to go to Smithfield Chicken & BBQ. I don't believe the butler. If I were raped I wouldn't wait a year to report it, of course that way there isn't any evidence one way or another.

  • applejuice Jun 27, 2008

    i take it back - allmeinyou is right, according to North Carolina law, this is not rape.

  • foetine Jun 27, 2008

    I bet this guy is so relieved knowing that he wasn't really raped under state law. It's like a mosquito bite on your rump.