UPDATED: 2 arrested in connection to Binghamton restaurant assault allegations
UPDATED: 2/24/22—2:20 P.M.
Support for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence from RAINN, or the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network hotline, can be found at 800-656-HOPE. The National Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE.
BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG)—Two owners of a restaurant in downtown Binghamton were arrested Wednesday on felony charges. The arrests come as a result of an ongoing police investigation into allegations of sexual assault.
Binghamton police arrested Colonial owner Yaron Kweller, 41, for rape in the third degree. While still a felony, it is the state’s least severe rape charge and could include the assault of someone less than 17 years old or someone who was incapable of consenting, according to the New York Penal Code.
The second owner, Jordan Rindgen, 33, was charged with the criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third and fifth degrees. Controlled substances in that category include narcotics, like opioids, stimulants, such as cocaine, hallucinogenics or selling to those under 21.
Police Captain Cory Minor said in a statement released Wednesday that the arrests were tied to an incident on Nov. 27, 2021 at 141 Washington Street.
Both Kweller and Rindgen were arraigned in city court on Wednesday and released. Minor said another arrest is expected and the investigation remains ongoing.
Minor could not be reached for further comment.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham called the charges "beyond disturbing."
"With today's arrests, I want to be clear—our community will not tolerate sexual assault anytime, anywhere by anyone," Kraham wrote.
He went on to applaud the bravery of sexual assault survivors who came forward.*
In a statement, a spokesperson for The Colonial’s acting ownership team said both Rindgen and Kweller were "removed from business operations" in December, when the formal police investigation was announced. They have not, however, been removed as partners from the restaurant’s ownership group.
The spokesperson said the ownership group’s legal team is "actively exploring" how to remove them.
"This is a legal process which will require time, and we ask for your patience as we navigate our next steps," they wrote.
According to the statement, Kweller and Rindgen had control of business social media accounts, and were responsible for a post that called the accusations against them “baseless claims” and “cancel culture.”
The owners add that while The Colonial, Dos Rios and Stone Fox—each of which temporarily suspended operations in December—share some mutual owners, each establishment has its own unique ownership group.**
The Binghamton Police Department has asked that anyone with information contact the detective division at 607-772-7080.
*This story was updated to include a statement from Binghamton's mayor.
**This story was updated to include a statement from The Colonial's acting ownership.