Home Christian News Chick-fil-A Franchisee Accused of Sex Offense With Teen Girl; Chick-fil-A Says It...

Chick-fil-A Franchisee Accused of Sex Offense With Teen Girl; Chick-fil-A Says It Has ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy

Stacy Lee Austin Chick-fil-A
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An Ohio Chick-fil-A franchise owner has been arrested and charged with a statutory sex offense after he allegedly traveled more than 400 miles to North Carolina to abuse a 15-year-old girl he met online.  

Stacy Lee Austin, 49, was arrested on March 5, after the victim’s father called the police thinking that Austin was committing a burglary at his home. The caller told deputies that upon entering the home, he found Austin with his daughter. 

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) in North Carolina said that Austin “had been communicating with the juvenile on a social media application.”

“In those conversations, Austin tried to arrange to pick the juvenile up and while he was at the victim’s home, he performed sexual activities with them,” RCSO’s statement continued.

Investigators said that they found Austin’s undergarments in a trash can in a bathroom of the home, along with some of the girl’s clothing. 

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Austin admitted to engaging in sexual acts with the girl, and he told deputies that he was worried about losing his job as a Chick-fil-A franchisee. 

The Chick-fil-A franchise Austin operates is located in Saint Clairsville, Ohio, according to WCMH.

Chick-fil-A, which is known for its Christian values and remains closed on Sundays, told WCMH that the company has “zero tolerance for the type of serious conduct alleged.”

“Stacy Austin currently is an independent franchise owner, but as the investigation and legal process continues, he will not be present in the restaurant,” the spokesperson said.

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Although Chick-fil-A has at times been pulled into public controversy for its conservative values, particularly its traditional stance on human sexuality and marriage, the fast food chain has nevertheless been at the top of customer satisfaction surveys for nearly a decade.