The owner of a South Carolina restaurant chain has been charged with criminal sexual conduct and assault and battery for allegedly forcing an employee to have sex with him. The incidents reportedly occurred in July 2016 and July 2018.

According to local media reports, the owner of Urban Cookhouse is accused of having unwanted sex with a female employee at the chain’s Mt. Pleasant location. At a later date, he also allegedly sexually assaulted the same employee while displaying a small handgun. Police records show the defendant turned himself in to authorities in early October.

The founders of the company, which has four locations, issued a statement saying that they are no longer associated with the defendant and his alleged actions do not represent the company’s standards. They also said that their “thoughts and prayers” are with the woman who was allegedly assaulted, her family and the defendant’s family. Police are still investigating the case. Apparently, they are still examining relevant video surveillance and phone records.

Defendants convicted of sexual assault and other violent crimes could face severe penalties, including long prison terms and expensive fines. Convicted defendants also bear the burden of a permanent criminal record, which often makes it difficult to gain meaningful employment following their release from custody. However, a criminal defense attorney could represent a defendant in court and work to protect his or her future. After reviewing the evidence, the attorney may recommend fighting the charges in court, which could lead to an acquittal or the charges being dismissed. If the evidence seems strong, the attorney may advise working out a plea deal with prosecutors.

Source: WIS10, “Urban Cookhouse owner accused of criminal sexual conduct“, Oct. 16, 2018