Jonesboro restaurant owner charged with rape, human trafficking

JONESBORO, Ark. — A Jonesboro restaurant owner is facing serious felony charges after authorities began investigating rape allegations made by one of his workers.

In late December, a woman reported 45-year-old Hexin Chen sexually assaulted her. She stated she had been living with the owners of the Kirin Restaurant since November 20 and was even employed at the business.

Chen, one of the owners, had reportedly been violent with the woman, and had even tried to have sex with her on multiple occasions. Each time she was able to get away.

Police said the last attack happened during the early morning hours on December 27 when Chen allegedly entered the woman’s room and raped her. She told officers she tried to scream, but he held one hand over her mouth and used the other to pin her down.

He then left without saying a word, she said.

The woman was taken to the hospital several hours later by a customer she confided in.

According to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, it was only after Jonesboro police began investigating the rape allegation that they uncovered Chen was involved in human trafficking.

He has been charged with rape and two counts of human trafficking. If convicted, he faces 10 to 40 years or life in prison for the rape, and six to 30 years in prison on each count of human trafficking.

Both are class A felonies.