Man Accused of Assaulting Special Needs Employee Held
WAREHAM — The man who planned to open a coffee shop in Middleboro that would employ those with intellectual disabilities and is accused of assaulting one of those employees remains in jail following his arraignment, after his bail in another case was revoked.
Charles G. El-Helou, 53, of Brockton was arraigned today in Wareham District Court on charges of assault and battery on a person with intellectual disabilities. He was given a $2,000 cash bail, but is being held because a judge revoked his bail in a pending case out of Brockton. He is due back in court July 12 for a pretrial hearing.
El-Helou was arrested Friday following a two-week investigation, after police received a report that a 25-year-old male with intellectual disabilities, working to help El-Helou open the Hugs & Yums Coffee Lounge at 51 Center Street, had been assaulted by El-Helou.
As previously reported, the Hugs & Yums Coffee Lounge was intended to be a “community service coffee lounge project” created by non-profit Spark of Hopes. It was to be the first of its kind in Massachusetts.
The victim was working as a painter and laborer for El-Helou while Hugs & Yums prepared to open to the public. According to police, El-Helou allegedly tried to get the man to sign his vehicle's title over to him by promising to buy the man a new truck from a dealership. The man refused and later reported the interaction to his mother.
A few days later, during a June 3 event at the Center Street business, the employee allegedly told El-Helou that he could not come to work the next day because his vehicle was being repaired. At that time, El-Helou allegedly claimed the vehicle belonged to him and grabbed the man by the neck and made a growling sound before releasing him.
Police say the victim continued to work at the business until June 14, but was never paid for any of his labor, despite filling out a W2 and other employment forms. The victim's uncle accompanied him to the business on June 14 to collect his tools, and after a conversation with the uncle, El-Helou allegedly gave the victim a quantity of cash.
The investigation remains active and ongoing by Middleborough Police Detectives, and additional charges may be added.
The case has also been reported to the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission and a report was filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.