Florence restaurateur denies sexually assaulting employee
NORTHAMPTON — The owner of a Florence pizza shop denied accusations in court he groped an employee earlier this summer.
Santos L. Carballo, 31, of Chicopee, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court Monday to a single count of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.
Carballo is the co-owner of Starr’s Pizza at 59 Main St., according to police and a February 2013 Gazette article about the business.
According to court records, the alleged victim, who is 16, had begun working at the restaurant in June and accepted a ride to a friend’s house from Carballo at the end of her shift the night of July 5.
As a matter of policy, the Gazette does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults.
The alleged victim told police that instead of taking her to her destination, Carballo instead drove his car to a path near a section of the Mill River off Federal Street.
The victim told police that she followed Carballo out of the car and followed him into the woods. But when Carballo put his arm around her waist and “groped” her buttocks and “bit and licked” her neck she said, she pushed him away, told him she didn’t like his advances and walked out of the woods. Carballo then drove her to her friend’s house, according to court files.
On July 20, according to court records, Carballo was interviewed by police and confirmed he gave the woman a ride to a her friend’s house in Holyoke after work on July 5 but denied making any stops along the way, according to police.
Carballo was released on his own recognizance by Judge W. Michael Goggins on the conditions that he stay away and have no contact with the alleged victim, not employ anyone under 16 at his restaurant and stay away from a local school.
He is due back in court on Oct. 10 for a pre-trial hearing. If convicted, he faces up to five years in state prison.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com.