JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — After a Johnson City man was arrested on Valentine’s Day and charged with sexual assault, a local business faced a full walkout of all of its employees and was temporarily shut down.
According to an affidavit filed with the Washington County Court of General Sessions, an employee of a business located at 811 W Walnut St in Johnson City told Johnson City Police Department (JCPD) officers that Jacob Speiss, 37, assaulted her on January 25. an investigation, Spiess was arrested on February 14.
811 W Walnut St is the listed location of Bebettes: A New Orleans Coffeehouse.
According to the affidavit, the victim told officers that while she was in the back of the business, Speiss began giving her a back massage. Officers said the victim described the massage as “unwanted” and after a few minutes Spiess began touching her in other parts of her body.
After the incident, investigators say the employee quit her job and was granted a protective order against Speiss. According to the affidavit, the business owners told investigators that Speiss’ employment was terminated due to the allegations and that he informed them that he had given the victim a back massage that “went at[o] far.”
“Jacob was the store manager at our Johnson City site,” the business owners told News Channel 11. “He was terminated after he informed us of an affair with one of his staff who breached our Code of Conduct Later that day, another team member informed us of the allegations that Jacob assaulted the team member.
According to the affidavit, Speiss arrived at JCPD headquarters to discuss the incident and told officers that although the two had been “flirtatious” in the past, he only kissed the victim that day.
“The team was very close to Jacob and they all quit together,” the company owners said.
News Channel 11 has contacted the owners for clarification on the reasons for their resignation, but so far have not heard back.
“Bebettes is a women-owned business and does not tolerate any type of harassment or inappropriate conduct,” the owners said. “We are currently making improvements to the restaurant and staff.”
The company has previously been seen with signs indicating that operations have been halted for a winter break from January 26 to February 28. The owners told News Channel 11 the service is expected to resume on March 8.
Spiess is scheduled to appear in a March 29 criminal hearing in Washington County General Sessions Court. Court records say a “special judge” is presiding over the case, and Spiess was released on $7,500 bond.