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AD.C. chef who has cooked at Le Diplomate and Vidalia and who pleaded guilty in 2013 to two counts of sex abuse and one count of assault is featured in a document that began circulating on social media this morning.
The online flyer, which was apparently first printed and circulated to kitchens on 14th Street NW, warns about Chef Jayro Cruz, who sources say still works at Le Diplomate. It includes screen shots of court records that show Cruz entered guilty pleas for charges of misdemeanor sexual abuse.
WCP has independently verified the court documents related to the charges.
Attorney Lee Smith III, who represented Cruz in 2013, declined to comment or even confirm whether he currently represents him. And attempts to leave messages for Cruz were unsuccessful because his voicemail was full.
Also within the past 10 hours, a woman who briefly worked with Cruz and describes his behavior as “abusive” posted a detailed Facebook account of her interactions with him that lasted several months starting in July 2016. In the post, she writes that it began when the chef sent an unsolicited video of himself showering.
She tells WCP by email that she’s not sure what prompted the flyers but that she felt compelled to share her story after several friends and colleagues showed them to her. “Another chef sent me the flyer last night, and I broke down in the middle of the dinner rush,” she says. “My sous chef (who happens to be my friend as well) asked me about it and I told him everything and felt like others needed to know too. I didn’t realize how bad it was until then. He has a pattern of preying on co-workers.”
She says what she’s gleaned from 14th Street restaurant workers is that he is still employed at Le Diplomate. “I’m waiting to hear more about what’s been done in regard to that before I reach out to management,” she says.
STARR Restaurants, which operates Le Diplomate, declines to confirm whether Cruz is still on staff at the popular 14th Street NW French brasserie, but a former employee says he saw Cruz there as recently as Sunday. The same former employee doubled back later, saying he confirmed that Cruz is still employed there.
STARR Restaurants issued the following statement:
“We do not provide public comment on individual personnel matters, but we note that there are laws that control actions an employer can take with regard to applicants for employment and employees with criminal backgrounds, and we comply with those laws.”