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3rd sexual assault case filed against ex-Topgolf Las Vegas sous chef

Updated July 12, 2021 - 5:01 pm

Prosecutors have charged a former Topgolf Las Vegas sous chef in connection with a 2016 rape, marking the third sexual assault case filed in Clark County in two years against a man described in court documents as a “serial sexual predator.”

Silvino Hinojosa, 40, faces one count of sexual assault in the latest case, which was filed last month in Las Vegas Justice Court, records show. Elba Servin, a former prep cook, has said the man lured her in June 2016 to a vacant home, where she was assaulted.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal typically does not identify victims of sexual assault, but Servin previously gave the newspaper permission to use her name.

Hinojosa’s newest criminal charge comes after a Review-Journal story in April that shed light on Servin’s accusations in addition to what has been called a “dehumanizing, toxic work environment” at Topgolf’s Las Vegas flagship, which opened in April 2016.

Servin is among at least five former Topgolf Las Vegas kitchen employees to accuse Hinojosa, their direct supervisor, of sexual harassment or abuse that they claim extended from the opening of the Las Vegas flagship to May 2018, when Hinojosa was terminated.

Four of them have filed suit against the well-known sports entertainment company and Hinojosa.

“It takes tremendous moral courage to come forward with these allegations, and it is my hope that this process can play a role in helping these survivors reclaim some of what was taken away from them,” James J. Lee, who is representing Hinojosa’s accusers, previously told the Review-Journal.

In the lawsuits, which are ongoing, Hinojosa is described as a sexual predator at the center of Topgolf’s “toxic work environment” who “leveraged his power” over low-level employees, many of them immigrant women. The lawsuits claim he was protected for years by a “frat boy” culture among company executives and other kitchen managers despite multiple reports that employees made to the company’s human resources department.

The sous chef’s eventual termination came only after two women filed complaints with MGM International, Topgolf’s lessor, according to the lawsuits.

Hinojosa has been in custody at the Clark County Detention Center since July 2019, when he was arrested by Las Vegas police on suspicion of sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl. Several months later, he was formally charged in the June 2017 sexual assault of Ciara Williams, a former Topgolf pastry chef.

Trials are pending in both cases, although court records indicate that Hinojosa has tentatively struck a deal with prosecutors in the case involving Williams, a mother of two who has said she was sexually assaulted by Hinojosa inside a walk-in freezer at the Topgolf kitchen. She was the first of Hinojosa’s accusers to publicly speak out and to file a lawsuit against her former supervisor and employer.

Details of the tentative deal were not immediately known Monday, as Hinojosa’s attorney, Patricia Doyle, has not responded to multiple requests for comment. But according to court records, “Ms. Doyle stated that she received the plea agreement and this matter should be negotiated.”

A status hearing regarding those negotiations is scheduled to take place July 26. The following day, records show, Hinojosa is expected to return to court for a preliminary hearing in connection with the June 2016 assault of Servin.

If convicted in any of the three criminal cases, Hinojosa could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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