Man charged with fourth-degree sexual assault after incident at Velvet Mill

·2 min read

Aug. 12—STONINGTON — Police have arrested a Velvet Mill business owner following an investigation into unwanted sexual contact with a woman at the Velvet Mill in June, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

David Drown, 52, of Jamestown, Rhode Island, is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and second-degree breach of peace. Stonington police arrested Drown last Saturday at the Velvet Mill, where he owns ArtPrint Studio, on a warrant issued by New London Superior Court.

According to the affidavit from Stonington Police Officer Sarah Napolitano, a woman told police she had gone to a Velvet Mill business to order a drink and was standing at the counter when Drown came up from behind and pressed himself against her, pinning her close to the counter.

The woman then shared what happened with a man, who called police, and she told police she felt violated.

The affidavit states that Drown denied the action and comment, and said he and the woman are close friends and he "hipchecked" her to say hello. However, he was unable to tell police the woman's name, and the woman told police they're not friends.

During the investigation, Napolitano learned that another Velvet Mill business owner in October reported to Stonington police that an employee said Drown took a photo of her, showed the photo to her, and zoomed in on her butt.

Two other female employees of this business then came forward and said they had problems with Drown, with one saying Drown made comments about her legs and the other saying he grabbed her braids and shook them as if he was riding a horse. The affidavit said no prior enforcement action was taken because the women didn't want to come forward, but that the business owner banned Drown from his establishment.

According to court records, Drown was released on a $1,000 bond and is next scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. Fourth-degree sexual assault is a Class A misdemeanor, and the part of the statute for which Drown is charged is when a person "subjects another person to sexual contact without another person's consent."

e.moser@theday.com