NewsLocal NewsI-Team Investigations


Three women sue former Franklin Manor owner for alleged sexual assault

Franklin Manor
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 18:25:47-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- The former owner of a popular Tampa night club is facing sexual assault allegations in a new lawsuit filed by three women.

The lawyer for these women, Joseph Alvarez, told I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern he took on the case after women who made allegations about the former owner of Franklin Manor on social media began calling his law office.

The Tampa attorney said he then collected enough information to file a civil lawsuit involving sexual assault allegations against Lanfranco Pescante, and alleging negligence against Franklin Manor and Nocturnal Hospitality Group, his former business partners.

RECOMMENDED: State Attorney's Office, FBI investigate 'just shoot them all' comment made by former Franklin Manor co-owner

“In this case, it’s a he-said, we-said scenario,” said Alvarez. “We do have three very strong women who have strong claims that are within the statute of limitations that we’ve been able to bring this.”

The 21-page lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County alleges Pescante sexually assaulted three women, all listed in the complaint as Jane Does.

Two of the women were Franklin Manor employees at the time of the alleged assaults, including one who is accusing Pescante of coercing her in 2016 and 2017 to engage in sexual acts “in exchange for preferential treatment, including preferential sections to tables within the night club.”

“There’s another woman who just - did not work for Franklin Manor, and it was just an outright allegation of rape,” Alvarez told the I-Team.

According to the lawsuit, that woman alleges she and Pescante went to a Tampa Bay Lightning game in 2017, where he allegedly coerced her to ingest alcoholic drinks and shots “despite her reluctance and growing impairment.”

Later, at Pescante’s apartment, the women alleges he tried to undress her “despite her pleas stating, ‘NO!”

The lawsuit also states the women lost consciousness and later awoke naked next to Pescante in the nude and realized Pescante “had raped her after she was incapable of consenting.”

The I-Team reached out to Pescante, his lawyer and his former night club company about the allegations but have yet to hear back.

The I-Team plans to continue following this case.