The parents of a boy who was photographed by a Wal-Mart employee using the restroom at the South Gate store in 2017 reached a settlement with the retail store chain, court papers obtained Tuesday show.
The lawsuit was originally brought last August in Los Angeles Superior Court against Wal-Mart Inc. and the former employee, Aristeo Mancia, who was later arrested and convicted, according to the plaintiffs.
They sought unspecified damages on allegations of sexual assault, negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and premises liability.
A notice of settlement was filed Jan. 9 with Judge Elaine Lu, but no terms were divulged.
The suit stated that the couple were at the store shopping on April 12, 2017, when their then-8-year-old son said he needed to use the restroom and the father waited for him outside the bathroom.
Mancia entered the restroom, reached under the stall door the boy had closed after him and took photos of the youngster with a cellphone, according to the suit, which said the boy, “shocked and scared,” picked up his pants and flushed the toilet while Mancia ran out of the restroom.
The boy ran to his father and was “visibly shaken, panicked and afraid to be alone,” according to his parents’ court papers.
The father called store security, and South Gate police reviewed security video showing a Wal-Mart employee entering the restroom while the boy was inside, then leave and enter the employee lounge, according to the family.
“Despite this, Wal-Mart delayed in identifying Mancia to police,” the suit alleged.
Mancia was later found with a cellphone and clothing that matched what the boy had described to police, according to the lawsuit, which says Mancia was subsequently convicted of violating the state’s “Peeping Tom” law and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation.
The plaintiffs alleged the store management knew of similar behavior by Mancia, including taking photos of other children using the restroom, and failed to do a proper background check before hiring him. The suit also alleged there was insufficient security at the Firestone Boulevard store.
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