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Waiter allegedly sexually assaults woman in Columbia restaurant

A waiter was arrested Tuesday after allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in a Columbia restaurant.

According to court documents, a woman walked into the bathroom at La Siesta Mexican Restaurant on Rangeline Street and was vomiting in a stall when 32-year-old Rudi Perez-Ramirez entered the same stall and locked the door behind him.

The victim told police Perez-Ramirez sodomized her and would not let her leave the stall even when she resisted him and told him “no.”

The victim said she didn’t know Perez-Ramirez, and identified him as a waiter at the restaurant.

The business confirmed Perez-Ramirez has been an employee since the location opened.

“He actually had been here since day one, since we opened 14 months ago,” La Siesta owner Francisco Guillen told ABC 17 News.

Guillen was not there the night it happened, but said he learned more about what happened from other employees.

He said Perez-Ramirez took advantage of his seniority and was handing out free drinks, as well as drinking on the job.

“I guess since he’s been here the longest, on the days I was off, he was just drinking, you know, started drinking from the beginning of the day until the end of the night,” he told ABC 17 News.

When police interviewed Perez-Ramirez, he admitted to holding the woman against her will and sexually assaulting her, and said he was intoxicated at the time.

Perez-Ramirez is an illegal immigrant, according to court documents.

ABC 17 News asked Guillen if he was aware that Perez-Ramirez was in the country illegally when he hired him. Guillen said no, and that Perez-Ramirez gave him paperwork when he was hired.

“We don’t have a way to, you know, like, verify or anything,” he said.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Shawn Neudauer said that’s not the case.

“Essentially the government’s position on this is that they don’t require, we don’t require a business owner to be a document expert,” Neudauer told ABC 17 News. “Nonetheless, they are somewhat responsible for the documents in their care, I-9 forms specifically.”

Neudauer said employers can use “e-verify” for free and they can sign up for it on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

He also said there could be consequences if a business is audited and there are discrepancies in paperwork, such as the I-9 form, which indicates a person’s legal right to work in the U.S.

He was charged with first degree sodomy and felonious restraint.

He’s currently in the Boone County Jail on $100,000 bond.

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