ST. JOSEPH — The preliminary hearing for the co-owner of a Stevensville restaurant who was charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct has been delayed a second time.
The probable cause hearing for Raffaele Santaniello, 50, of Stevensville, is now set for March 23, according to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office.
The hearing had originally been set for Jan. 18, but was then adjourned to March 1.
Chief Trial Attorney Cortney O’Malley said the first delay was for a variety of reasons, including some evidentiary matters, and was agreed to by the defense lawyer and Berrien County Trial Court Judge Angela Pasula, who will be hearing the case.
O’Malley said Monday the new date of March 23 was set by the court, which she believes was made due to scheduling issues.
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 in Stevensville.
The prosecutor said the incidents are alleged to have taken place over a period of time from 2016-21. He said the 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 preliminary hearing, Santaniello is free on a $250,000 bond with a GPS tether.