Applebee's employee gay-bashed, told not to return to work due to bad publicity

Sun. March 31, 2013 8:53 AM by Wisconsin Gazette

timothy phares in the hospital following the attack

photo credit // timothy phares
Rice Lake, WI - A gay employee of Applebee's in Rice Lake was brutally gay-bashed by the husband of a co-worker, then told by the restaurant's manager he could not return to work due to publicity surrounding the incident, he said.

Timothy Phares subsequently did return to his job as a server after Greg Flynn, CEO of Apple American Group franchise, intervened on his behalf.

According to Phares and his sister Krista Phares, they were getting out of his car in the parking lot of a Perkins restaurant on March 17 when Hendricks and his wife Shannon Hendricks pulled up behind them in an SUV.

"(Hendricks) was getting out of his vehicle, and he said, ‘Fucking faggot, I'm going to kill you,'" Phares said.

At that point Phares said Hendricks struck him with great force in head with a 2 x 4 piece of lumber. Krista Phares said she heard her brother's head smack the pavement, but Tim Phares lost consciousness and doesn't remember anything else before waking up in the hospital.

Phares suffered head and facial abrasions as well as multiple facial fractures that will ultimately require surgery to implant metal plates, he said.

Rien Hendricks, 36, who lives at 527 Phipps Ave. in Rice Lake, was taken into custody following the attack and charged with substantial battery intended to inflict bodily harm, a Class 1 felony. Hendricks, who has prior convictions for theft, false representation and distributing marijuana, is free on bail.

In the past, Hendricks has also faced charges for bail jumping and violating unemployment law.

In addition to retaining her job at Applebee's, Shannon Hendricks has not been charged for her role in the attack. And despite the anti-gay slur shouted prior to the attack, which was heard by both Tim and Krista Phares, the assault is not being prosecuted as a hate crime, Phares said.

Read more on Wisconsin Gazette

Article provided in partnership with Wisconsin Gazette.