Lawyers turned over recordings Wednesday of Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers Jr. engaged in sexual acts that were made by a woman who alleges the executive forced her to engage in such acts to keep her job.
Cobb County Superior Court Judge G. Grant Brantley signed a preliminary order barring the distribution of those recordings while legal proceedings are ongoing. His initial decision will be replaced by a more lengthy order governing who may access the recordings and under what circumstances.
Brantley has scheduled a March 25 hearing to investigate how a legal case that was filed under seal became public.
The woman accusing Rogers told Atlanta police last month that the executive demanded that she perform sexual acts in exchange for keeping her job as his housekeeper. She said that Rogers tried to force her to have sex with him despite her protests. She said this occurred for nearly 10 years, from 2003 through June of this year. The Associated Press does not generally identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
The woman and Rogers have sued each other in court, but judges have not publicly released the documents in those cases.
Rogers has acknowledged having consensual sexual encounters with the woman, but he accuses her of making false statements against him. In a statement earlier this week, Rogers said he received what he described as a "blackmail" letter from the woman's attorney seeking millions of dollars. He sat through court proceedings Wednesday accompanied by his wife.
"What we're going through is very painful," Rogers told reporters in a brief interview after the hearing. "I've disappointed a lot of people, I've let a lot of folks down and they're standing by me though. I did some stupid things."
"I'm willing to stand here and be the victim of my own stupidity, but I don't want to the victim of these crimes," Rogers said. He would not elaborate on what crimes he was describing.
An attorney for the woman, Hylton Dupree, denied that his client was attempting extortion.
"It's not an extortion case," Dupree said. "It's a tort case." He would not comment further.
Rogers said the accuser worked part-time for him from 2003 until she was let go in 2008. She was later rehired as his house manager but quit in June, he said.