Community reacts after local Howard Johnson’s owner arrested on sex abuse charges

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local community is reacting after the owner of the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Lake George was arrest on sexual abuse charges.

People in the area say that 65-year-old Jonathan LaRock has been doing this type of thing for years and his actions have gone on for way too long.

People in the community also taking note of what police say happened here at the restaurant.

The signs have been blinking “OPEN” all day but for now, the last Howard Johnson’s in the country is empty.

Sandy Stamper has known LaRock for nearly a decade.

“I believe it. I know what he’s capable of. He thinks he’s above the law and he’ll do whatever he has to.”

She’s not surprised about the allegations now being brought against him saying he once made advances on her.

“He wanted a relationship but I put my foot down. There was nothing there.”

Warren County Sheriff Lt. Steve Stockdale says LaRock had sexually harassed more than a dozen of his female employees with many of them being teenagers.

“They’d been touched inappropriately and had been subjected to very very suggestive comments.”

People in town like Bridget Bundrick say these allegations are disturbing.

“It seems like women still can’t just go to work and work without being harassed in some sort of way.”

She has eaten at the restaurant and never noticed anything strange but says the charges make her worry for her 16-month-old daughter Mia.

“It just makes me nervous for my own daughter’s future.”

Stockdale says they are still looking for more of LaRock’s potential victims.

“Once the floodgates are opened it’s not surprising. It’s disturbing.”

Bundrick applauding the victims that have come forward so far.

“It’s about time that someone was grave enough to speak up and put a stop to it for everyone else.”

Stamper said she’s glad LaRock is finally being held accountable.

“I’m just very thankful that these girls are okay. And are moving in with their lives and can find better employers.”

The sheriff’s department is also looking for potential victims that have left the area, saying there are many seasonal and foreign employees that work here during the summer months.

As for the restaurant, no word on if or when the doors will reopen.

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