berrien county courthouse for web

ST. JOSEPH — A new date has been set for the preliminary hearing for the owner of a Stevensville restaurant who has been charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct involving three former employees.

A hearing had been set for next Tuesday in Berrien County Trial Court for Raffaele Santaniello, 50, of Stevensville. But at a pre-exam conference Wednesday, it was rescheduled to 1:30 p.m. March 1, according to Berrien Assistant Prosecutor and Chief Trial Attorney Cortney O’Malley.

220113-HP-raffaele-santaniello-mug.jpg

SANTANIELLO

She said the prosecution and defense agreed to the adjournment, for a variety of reasons, including some evidentiary matters. The case is being heard by Judge Angela Pasula, who also agreed to the delay.

Santaniello is charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, six counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping.

Third-degree CSC is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Fourth-degree CSC is punishable by up to two years in prison, and kidnapping is punishable by any term of years.

Berrien County Prosecutor Steve Pierangeli said earlier, in announcing the arrest of Santaniello, the charges stem from allegations involving three separate victims who were employed at Santaniello’s Glenlord Restaurant & Pizzeria on Glenlord Road in Stevensville.

The prosecutor said the incidents are alleged to have taken place over a period of time from 2016 through 2021. He said the alleged incidents were unrelated to each other and are alleged to have occurred at different times and locations.

Pierangeli said the allegations include forced sexual touching and coerced penetration.

While awaiting his hearing, Santaniello is free on a $250,000 bond with a GPS tether.

Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter @HPSwidwa