Restaurant owner jailed for sexual assault of teenager


A RESTAURANT owner has been sentenced to nine years in jail with three suspended for a series of offences, including sexual assault and defilement of a teenage girl over a three-year period while she was working in his Chinese restaurant business.

Chun Ming Chen (34), an Irish citizen of Chinese origin, had pleaded guilty to 25 sample charges relating to the sexual assault and defilement of the girl between November 2007 and August 2010 when she was aged between 14 and 17.

At the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork yesterday, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a cumulative sentence totalling nine years for the offences, but suspended the final three years on condition that Chun be of good behaviour on his release.

Garda Sgt Ciara Lee, who investigated the case, had told the court that Chun, Oakfield Close, Glanmire, Co Cork, was running Ming’s, a Chinese restaurant in Glanmire, when the victim began working for him on a part-time basis while attending secondary school.

She said the offences occurred when the victim was being brought home by Chun or when travelling with him while making deliveries of hot food to houses in the area. They began with Chun kissing her and touching inside her clothes.

The assaults escalated and he began having sexual intercourse with her when she was aged 15, with the incidents taking place for a time on a weekly basis.

In a victim impact statement read to the court by her mother, the complainant told of how her life had been changed by the abuse suffered at the hands of Chun, known locally as Jimmy, whom she indicated she would like to be named and identified publicly.

“When I was in my early teens, he would drive me home. I was his employee. During these times that he sexually assaulted me, I did not know how to stop what was happening. I was ashamed and angry. I was continually angry with everybody and everything.

“I took it out on everyone close. After I told my mother and the gardaí, I got help with anger and depression. My friends were enjoying their lives and meeting boys. I felt so low. They seemed so carefree. My teenage years should have been about meeting friends and boys.

“It put my life on hold but I am glad I made a complaint. I want to live my life – but my teenage years have been taken from me,” said the young woman, who was too upset to attend the sentencing hearing.

Mr Justice McCarthy said he was structuring the sentence in such a way as to recognise the escalation of Chun’s offending from the initial sexual assaults involving touching to oral sex to full sexual intercourse.

He said he was imposing three separate three-year sentences for each group of offences, each to run consecutively to the other, but that he would suspend the final three-year term in recognition of Chun’s guilty plea on condition he be of good behaviour.

This suspension of the final three years would offer the community some protection against the risk of reoffending by Chun, a married father of three, he said. He also accepted Chun was contrite for his actions.

Mr Justice McCarthy also made an order for Chun to be registered as a sex offender.