Montana Restaurant Owner Charged With Raping Employee, Sexually Assaulting Another

A businessman behind a string of popular restaurants in Montana has been charged with raping one worker and sexually assaulting another.

Chien "Howard" Hwa Shen is the part owner of a number of Billings restaurants including Carne Brazilian Grill, Asian Sea Grill and Wild Ginger, reported the Billings Gazette.

Shen was charged in Yellowstone District Court on Wednesday with one felony count of sexual intercourse without consent and a misdemeanor count of sexual assault.

The local news outlet noted that the woman who alleged the rape claimed to have been subjected to sexual harassment by the 48-year-old defendant almost daily at the restaurant. The identity of the restaurant was not revealed in the report.
It is alleged that the defendant would ask the woman to expose herself to him, ask to touch her in intimate places and would ask for explicit photos of her, court records state, reported the Billings Gazette.

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A gavel and handcuffs. A business owner has been charged with rape. artisteer/Getty

The media outlet said the charges state that: "He would ask her nearly every day about seeing or touching her.

"(The victim) always denied the defendant's request."

The media organization stated a lawsuit on behalf of the two women, naming Shen and his restaurant as defendants, was filed on Wednesday by the Billings law firm Heenan & Cook.

The Billings Gazette reported that allegedly one evening while at the restaurant, one of the victims said Shen followed her into the women's restroom and handed her $100, which she declined. She also claimed she avoided his attempted kiss and then returned to work. It is claimed in the following months, the defendant continued to sexually harass her, the charges state.

According to the news outlet, on another night at the restaurant, the woman said she was the last employee to finish work and found herself alone with Shen. When he allegedly became insistent again that she expose herself to him, she went into the women's restroom to avoid him.

He followed her, charges allege, pulled her underwear down and then penetrated her with his finger. She began to cry, the record states. The defendant said thank you and tried to give her $200, she told police. The woman left the restaurant and never returned.

The media outlet said according to the charges, the second female employee told police she asked Shen for a pay raise. The defendant said, no, but promised her a bonus.
The news outlet reported that the defendant "made a comment comparing victim 2's (body) with victim 1's (body)."

After the restaurant closed for the evening, Shen sent all the employees home except for the second woman, she said.

He is alleged to have called her into his office and handed her $300 from his wallet.

The news outlet said the defendant allegedly hugged the woman while squeezing her breast in a way she described to police as "forceful" and frightening, and soon afterwards she quit her job by text message.

KTVQ said according to charging documents, Shen denied to police ever touching the first woman but said he went into the bathroom to do repairs while she was working in there. He also denied touching the second woman's breasts and told police he gave her $300 and she hugged him in gratitude.

The station reported that Shen is scheduled to appear in court on October 7.