Colonial rape trial begins second week of proceedings
The trial of two former Binghamton restaurant owners accused of sexual assault and rape will begin a second week of proceedings Monday.
Yaron Kweller and Jordan Rindgen were part-owners of the Colonial, Stone Fox and Dos Rios restaurants in downtown Binghamton.
Kweller is charged with first-degree rape of a 21-year-old woman, which prosecutors say occurred in the basement of his real estate office on Washington St. in 2021. Rindgen is charged with sexual abuse of the same woman, and with giving alcohol to her underage friend.
The allegations prompted protests in downtown Binghamton in 2021, and the closing of the Colonial and Dos Rios bars.
On Thursday, the alleged victim took the stand. Her emotional, and sometimes graphic testimony detailed how she said Rindgen and Kweller sexually assaulted and raped her after taking her and a friend to the Colonial. She said Rindgen took her and her friend’s phone, and that she felt trapped and afraid.
During cross-examination, lawyers for the defendants said the victim sent text messages saying what happened was consensual.
On Friday, the victim’s friend took the stand. She said she was drunk and does not remember most of the evening. But she said she felt “uncomfortable” with the men.
Defense attorneys are accusing the friend of tampering with evidence by deleting her social media accounts. She said she deleted those accounts because she was advised to do so by the district attorney’s office.
Her phone was also subpoenaed as evidence. She did not turn her login information over, which the judge said could result in contempt-of-court charges.
Other witnesses called to the stand Friday included investigators and friends of the alleged victim. The proceedings are scheduled to continue Monday.