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The Board and Management of Cyril Rodrigo Restaurants Limited, who are the owners of ‘Green Cabin’ Restaurant, have issued a statement clarifying their stance with regard to the alleged rape of an autistic employee.

In the statement, the management has expressed deep concern regarding the alleged incident and has urged all concerned to keep the best interests of the victim at heart.

The statement, quoting its Managing Director Chanaka Rodrigo, vehemently denies allegations that the management of the restaurant was attempting to ‘cover-up’ the incident.

“The circumstances of this case are complex and tragic, and the law must be given space to establish what it can in an unbiased manner, without social media playing judge and jury. Few engaged in this discourse have a clear picture of the circumstances, and the testimony pertaining to the case. In the absence of such awareness, the autistic individual becomes a victim of this public spectacle, robbed of his right to privacy and discretion,” the statement adds.

The Full Statement issued by Green Cabin is given below:

Green Cabin deeply concerned. Urges need to keep victim’s best interests at heart.

The Board and Management of Cyril Rodrigo Restaurants Limited (owners of Green Cabin) have issued a statement clarifying their position in relation to the alleged rape of an autistic employee.

We are deeply concerned about this incident and our heartfelt sympathies are with the victim and his family. As an institution, we will facilitate an early resolution of the ongoing inquiry, and will endeavour to balance the need for due process in a criminal court procedure with the family’s need to find the perpetrators of this heinous act.

“We have consciously chosen to refrain from adding to the furor, and misinformation, despite accusations of maintaining a deafening silence.” Managing Director Chanaka Rodrigo reiterated “, There is absolutely no attempt by me or my staff to cover-up or block proceedings in any manner.” We do not condone or support rape or rapists; but we do support the right to a free trial and due process for our employees. “There is some doubt in my mind that this rape occurred in our premises. But it is of great importance that the truth is uncovered and the Young man and his family are given the peace of mind that they have had a just resolution of this case,” Mr. Rodrigo added.

We have always respected the regulatory environment we operate within, and in this matter, have obtained legal counsel. But in hindsight we feel we could have handled this situation with greater empathy. On legal advice we sent the young man a vacation of post notice, but the board recommendation, is to issue a further letter giving him leave to sort out this court case. The Law is intentionally objective and rational. We cannot, go beyond the law, even at the expense of our much cherished goodwill and reputation built over generations of upright behaviour and strong values.

The circumstances of this case are complex and tragic, and the law must be given space to establish what it can in an unbiased manner, without social media playing judge and jury. Few engaged in this discourse have a clear picture of the circumstances, and the testimony pertaining to the case. In the absence of such awareness, the autistic individual becomes a victim of this public spectacle, robbed of his right to privacy and discretion.

We request that the emotion aroused around this case are channeled to much needed advocacy on work place awareness and sensitizing the broader community on the needed societal support systems that will encourage many other organisations to go that extra mile in reaching out to help persons with disability join the work force. We believe this inclusivity helps nurture their self esteem and offers an opportunity for them to lead fuller lives.

Unfortunate events over the past few weeks have caused deterioration in the erstwhile trust and mutual respect that the young man’s family had with the Green Cabin management. One includes the mother and aunt coming to the office at Pepiliyana with two other ladies and a lawyer. As the managing director was not present in the office, the Head of HR met them. A request to see the dressing room area was refused as a lawyer was present with the Mother. The legal opinion was that a court appointed officer must do this as otherwise it would interfere in the court proceedings.

A board member and a board appointed special mediator with prior expertise with the ILO in workplace disability have met the employee’s mother this week to establish facts; it is only after this meeting that this statement has been issued. Green Cabin will support the young man and his family in this most trying time.

Green cabin has had a continuous record of over a century of philanthropy and social responsibility. We have employed differently-abled persons and attempted to give them a safe haven. However, it is possible that despite all these good intentions, some form of bullying may have occurred, despite the allocation of mentors to protect the differently-abled worker.

We urge all well- wishers and the many concerned members of civil society and the community to refrain from reaching premature conclusions and to have the requisite patience and compassion to let the relevant authorities manage this.

We hope for a quick and proper resolution of this case and that Autism will get greater funding and recognition of the immense challenges faced in social integration.