Employee files civil lawsuit against Rokusek and his website design firm
QUINCY — An employee at Rokusek Design, Inc., 519 S. 18th, has filed a civil lawsuit against the company and its owner, John Rokusek.
The suit was filed Jan. 20 in Adams County Circuit Court on behalf of an unnamed plaintiff by Mariah Garcia, an attorney with Loevy & Loevy in Chicago. The plaintiff, a 33-year-old Quincy resident identified as “Jane Doe” in the suit, claims she has lost wages (bonuses), a potential reduction or loss of earning ability, and substantial emotional pain and suffering.
“Plaintiff is now coping with the severe breach of trust carried out by Mr. Rokusek, who she had considered a mentor and a family figure,” the complaint read. “The plaintiff is dealing with the stress and anxiety inherent in working in an environment where she was repeatedly violated and humiliated so profoundly. She also is dealing with the stress and anxiety caused by the uncertainty to her future life and career path the defendants’ conduct has caused her.
“As a result of the plaintiff’s emotional pain and suffering, the plaintiff has and continues to experience psychological pain and suffering, humiliation, depression, trouble sleeping, does not want to go to the gym, despair, rage and other psychological effects. These are only exasperated by the personal nature of the violation, as well as the small and insular community within which she lives and works.”
Rokusek, 59, was arrested November 4 and faces nine counts of unauthorized videotaping, Class 4 felonies, for the non-consensual video recordings of Jane Doe and her co-workers. His bond, set at $100,000, had been modified to allow for him to travel to Pennsylvania for treatment. He now lives in the Soulard section of St. Louis.
Rokusek had a scheduled court appearance on Thursday, but his attorney, Denny Woodworth, informed the court that Rokusek couldn’t make the appearance due to the weather. Judge Tad Brenner ordered Rokusek to appear in court on Monday, February 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Keck told Brenner more charges are being filed against Roksuek and he needed to be admonished on the amended charges and ordered to have no contact with the additional alleged victims.
Jane Doe had worked at Rokusek Design, Inc., since 2012 and received several promotions. She was the executive account manager at the time she filed her complaint. She claims Rokusek had talked to her multiple times since 2018 about taking over Rokusek Design as president and owner after his retirement.
Jane Doe claims she and other employees at Rokusek Design, Inc., were offered several perks as part of their benefits package. The company paid for employees to engage in personal training at a gym outside the office. It also paid for a masseuse to visit the office weekly to provide massages to employees in a massage room.
These activities often made it necessary for employees to change clothes and use the shower facilities at the office. Jane Doe claims Rokusek actively encouraged his employees to utilize their employment perks. He often would facilitate group workouts for the employees, which would necessitate the need for a shower. This included a private weight-lifting class that Rokusek and Jane Doe attended with a personal trainer.
Jane Doe claims a co-worker told her on Nov. 4 she had found an iPhone hidden in a cabinet in one of the office bathrooms. The co-worker said the camera on the iPhone was aligned with a hole in the cabinet where a handle should have been.
Jane Doe saw notifications displayed on the screen and determined the iPhone belonged Rokusek. She later reported her findings to law enforcement agents at the Quincy Police Department.
The complaint says, while Jane Doe was talking to the police, Rokusek admitted to one of her co-workers he placed the iPhone in the bathroom cabinet. He admitted he had taken photos of her and other employees without their consent. Rokusek told the co-worker he would delete the photographs of her and asked her not to tell his wife about them.
Rokusek subsequently was arrested, and his hidden iPhone was seized. Authorities found least 200 photographs and video recordings of Rokusek Design, Inc.’s female employees in various states of nudity or undress. The complaint alleges more photographs and video recordings of Rokusek Design Inc.’s female employees were found on Rokusek’s other electronic devices. Many photographs and video recordings were taken in private locations around the office. The complaint also alleges Rokusek took photographs and videos up the skirts of his female employees while they were working in the office. However, most of the photographs and video recordings were of Jane Doe. None of them were of the male employees.
The complaint lists five counts:
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (intentionally or recklessly causing another person severe emotional distress through one’s extreme or outrageous acts). The complaint reads, “(Rokusek’s) actions were rooted in an abuse of power and authority. They were undertaken with an intent to cause, or were in reckless disregard of the probability that their conduct would cause, severe emotional distress to the plaintiff. Rokusek’s actions also were willful and wanton.”
Intrusion Upon Seclusion: (One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or their private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of their privacy if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.) The complaint reads, “Defendants placed video surveillance in private locations throughout the plaintiff’s place of employment and digitally intruded upon the plaintiff’s solitude and seclusion. These locations included places in which the plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom, changing areas and shower facilities.”
Breach in Duty in Supervising – Negligence: (A master is under a duty to exercise reasonable care so to control his servant while acting outside the scope of his employment as to prevent him from intentionally harming others or from so conducting himself as to create an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to them.) The complaint reads, “Rokusek Design … had a duty to properly supervise its employees in relation to their duties, including the duty of (1) safeguarding the privacy of its employees and (2) fostering a safe and non-hostile work environment. Rokusek Design, Inc. breached its duty by failing to exercise due care in supervising Rokusek, who subsequently (1) breached the privacy of plaintiff and other employees under his supervision, and (2) created a hostile work environment.”
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (causing another severe emotional distress through one’s negligent conduct). The complaint reads, “Rokusek Design had a duty to exercise reasonable ordinary care and caution in the management, supervision and control of its business and the office to ensure the safety of its employees. Rokusek Design breached its duty by (1) allowing its agent to breach the privacy of plaintiff and other employees under his supervision and (2) allowing, either in its acts or omissions, its agent to take numerous recordings of plaintiff and other employees without their knowledge or consent.”
Respondeat Superior (holding an employer or principal liable for an employee’s wrongful acts committed within the scope of the employment or agency). The complaint reads, “While committing the alleged misconduct, Rokusek was an employee of Rokusek Design, Inc., acting at all relevant times within the scope of his employment.”
Rokusek Design, Inc., is a website design and development firm that had many clients in the Quincy area. However, the future of the business is unknown as this time. The website for Rokusek Design, Inc., www.rokusek.com, has been shut down. The last post on the company’s Facebook page was on Oct. 19.
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