New Jersey restaurant owner charged with sexually assaulting 4 women

Friday, June 21, 2024
New Jersey restaurant owner charged with sexually assaulting 4 women
New Jersey restaurant owner charged with sexually assaulting 4 women

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A man who owns multiple restaurants in Trenton, New Jersey has been charged with sexually assaulting four women, including a woman who was interviewing for a job and three former employees.

Gerald Araya, a 44-year-old man from Ewing Township, is charged with five counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and other offenses.

He owns three restaurants in Trenton: El Catador Lounge Restaurant on New York Avenue, Dubai Restaurant & Lounge on New York Avenue, and Mill Hill Restaurant & Lounge on South Broad Street.

Gerald Araya
Gerald Araya

The Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said the investigation began last month when a woman contacted Trenton police to report a sexual assault.

The victim told investigators that she met Araya for a job interview at the Dubai Restaurant & Lounge. The victim said Araya wanted to show her his other establishments, so they left and went to another bar where Araya started making drinks for her, prosecutors say.

According to investigators, the victim said Araya told her to try the drinks so she would know what she would be serving customers. She then told investigators she started feeling ill and told Araya she wanted to go home.

The woman said the next memory she has is being naked in a motel room while being sexually assaulted by Araya, prosecutors said.

The victim was "physically helpless" during the assault, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, authorities say three more victims were identified, all of whom previously worked for Araya.

Search warrants were served at Araya's home and his three restaurants. Araya was taken into custody outside the Mill Hill Restaurant without incident.

"I want to acknowledge the victims of these heinous acts. They are survivors. It took a great deal of courage, trust in our detectives, and patience with the process to get to this point," said Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson.

The prosecutor's office has filed a motion to detain Araya pending trial.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the prosecutor's SVU at (609) 989-6568 or