☑️A woman on a job interview passed out after drinking and woke up in a hotel room

☑️Three other former female workers accused Gerald Araya of assaulting them

☑️Several law enforcement agencies worked on the investigation

TRENTON — The owner of three city restaurants was charged with the sexual assaults of several former employees and a woman during a job interview.

An investigation began in May when a "young woman" reported meeting Gerald Araya, 44, of Ewing for an interview at his Dubai Restaurant on New York Avenue, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri.

Arayra wanted the woman to see his other restaurants and took her to another bar in Trenton. Araya began making the woman drinks and having her try them so she would be able to be familiar with them when they were ordered by customers.

The woman told Araya she was not feeling well and wanted to go home, according to Onofri. Her next memory was waking up naked in a Lawrence Township hotel room "physically helpless" being sexually assaulted by Araya.

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Gerald Araya
Gerald Araya (Mercer County Prosecutor's Office)

More allegations of sexual assault

The investigation, which involved detectives from Ewing, Lawrence and Trenton, led to three other former employees. Araya was arrested Wednesday outside another one of his restaurants, the Mill Hill Restaurant & Lounge on South Broad Street. He also owns the El Catador Lounge Restaurant on New York Avenue.

Araya is charged with five counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

Onofri called it an example of how successful law enforcement can be when agencies work together.

“From the lead detectives who operated with unwavering commitment on this case from the beginning to the four brave woman who came forward to share their stories and work with investigators to ensure this predator was taken off of the streets," Onofri said in a statement. "No one can do it alone. We will continue to work with our partners and our communities to make Mercer County safe."

Anyone with additional information about Araya should to contact the prosecutor’s Sexual Victims Unit at 609-989-6568 or mcposvu@mercercounty.org.

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