USA

Montana restaurant owner charged with sexually assaulting employees

A Montana restaurant owner allegedly raped an employee inside a women’s restroom and sexually assaulted another worker, according to a report.

Chien “Howard” Hwa Shen, 48, was charged Tuesday in Yellowstone District Court with one felony count of sexual intercourse without consent and a misdemeanor count of sexual assault, the Billings Gazette reports.

Shen, who has ownership interests in at least three Billings restaurants, subjected the woman who reported the rape to near-daily sexual harassment at one of the locations, the newspaper reports.

Shen regularly asked the woman to expose herself or “ask her nearly every day about seeing or touching her,” charging documents state.

The woman said Shen followed her into a women’s restroom at one of his restaurants and handed her $100. She declined the offer and refused Shen when he tried to kiss her before returning to work, according to the report.

Months later, Shen and the woman were alone at the restaurant since she was the last employee there and he again insisted she expose herself to him. She then went into a women’s restroom to avoid him, authorities allege.

Shen followed the woman inside and then pulled down her underwear before penetrating her with his finger, according to the charges. As the woman started to cry, Shen thanked her and tried to give her $200, she told police.

She later left the restaurant — which was not identified — and never returned, the newspaper reports.

A second female employee, meanwhile, told police she had sought a raise from Shen, which he denied while promising her a bonus, authorities allege.

Shen proceeded to send all of his employees home that evening except for the second victim, whom he called into his office and gave her $300 from his wallet, she told police.

Once inside his office, Shen hugged the woman while squeezing her breast in a “forceful” way, she told police, adding that he “would have done more to her” if she didn’t fight him off.

The woman later quit her job via text message. Both women also filed a lawsuit Wednesday naming Shen and his restaurants, including Carne Brazilian Grill, Asian Sea Grill and Wild Ginger, as defendants, the newspaper reports.

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