SEBASTIAN — Crab Stop Owner Ellis Buckner Jr. was jailed Friday after an employee accused him of touching her inappropriately, police said.
Sebastian police arrested Buckner, 51, on a charge of battery. Buckner was released Friday from the Indian River County Jail on $500 bond.
Buckner’s booking photo was not available.
The charge stems from an incident that occurred last weekend at the Crab Stop location in Sebastian, 1550 Indian River Drive, Sebastian police Lt. Tim Wood said.
Buckner told police he knelt down beside the woman to fix a fan. The owner said he put his hand out and touched the woman to make sure she didn’t bump into him, police reports show.
Buckner previously worked as a paramedic and firefighter for Indian River County Fire Rescue for 25 years before opening up Crab Stop. The restaurant is popular and sits along Sebastian’s riverside.
The Crab Stop also has a second location in Vero Beach on Royal Palm Pointe.
A Facebook group called “Molested Employees of the Crab Stop,” created June 9, shows several other workers making complaints against Buckner regarding inappropriate touching.
Wood said no other active complaints had been filed to the police department as of early Friday afternoon. Vero Beach police are investigating two criminal complaints against Buckner involving the Vero Beach Crab Stop, police spokesman Master Officer Darrell Rivers said.
The complaints are similar in nature to the Sebastian incident, but are separate, Rivers said. Rivers said two former employees made the complaints.
Further details on those complaints were not available because they are under investigation. Buckner could not be reached for comment.
In the Sebastian case, police responded to reports of a battery about 1:30 p.m. June 6 at the eatery. Officers spoke with the employee, a 21-year-old bartender who they said was crying.
The woman was cutting fruit behind the bar earlier when Buckner bent down beside her, officers said. The woman said she heard Buckner say “nice legs,” a police report shows.
There was nobody else was around when Buckner made the comment, the woman told police. The woman said Buckner grabbed her upper thigh and squeezed for 10 seconds, reports show.
The woman heard Buckner say, “Nice, you been working out?” reports show. The woman said Buckner then walked away.
The woman said she told her co-workers about the incident. One co-worker replied, “I thought he stopped doing that,” reports show.
While police spoke with the woman, Buckner pulled up to the restaurant in his truck. Police said the woman was shaken and sat down in her vehicle to avoid being around Buckner.
Buckner told police he saw a pool of water behind the bar earlier. The owner said he knelt down beside the woman to inspect the fan used to dry the floor, reports show.
Buckner said the woman appeared to move toward the fan, so he touched her to stop. The owner admitted he did say “nice legs,” reports show.
Police ordered Buckner to not have any contact with the woman. The woman has since quit her job, according to family members.
Officers arrested Buckner. Buckner has an arraignment at 8:30 a.m. July 7, jail records show.