TAMPA — A woman who was raped by a door-to-door ADT security salesman in 2011 is suing ADT and the subcontractor, SecureWatch, that employed him.
A complaint filed Thursday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court states that the companies should have never hired Rashad Hales for a position in which he would be expected to talk to potential customers in their homes.
In May, jurors took less than an hour to convict Hales, who was 19 when he attacked the woman, also 19. He was later sentenced to life in prison.
He was working as a new ADT service salesman in December 2011 when he pushed his way inside the woman's Town 'N Country trailer and raped her, all the while threatening to kill her.
He held a cord to her neck and, later, a knife to her side. He later admitted the crime to a sheriff's deputy, saying he had been aggravated and took it out on the young woman. The Tampa Bay Times is withholding her name because of the nature of the crime.
During Hales' trial, several ADT employees testified about going out to the area together. The group parted into pairs, and Hales' partner knocked on nearby doors not always in sight of Hales.
The lawsuit states that ADT and SecureWatch should do a "thorough background check and pre-employment investigation" of all employees.
Reached Friday, the woman's attorney, Barry Cohen, said the companies should interview each potential employee and give them a psychological test "to see if they have any deficits before (the companies) assume the responsibility of putting these people homes, as they do."
State records show Hales was charged with battery when he was 14 and trespassing when he was 15. A basic background check would have shown that he was "not an appropriate candidate for a sales position," according to the lawsuit. The victim is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 because of the physical and psychological injuries she suffered, the complaint states. She moved to another state to avoid trauma and get away from people who knew about her attack.
Attempts to reach SecureWatch late Friday were unsuccessful. ADT did not respond to a request for comment.
Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.