Former restaurant manager accused of sexual assault pleads not guilty

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KENOSHA COUNTY — A Kenosha County man accused of sexually assaulting two females — one who is underage appeared in court on Wednesday, May 18th for his preliminary hearing.

John Simonelli

John Simonelli

Probable cause was found for Simonelli to stand trial in this case. He has pleaded not guilty.

22-year-old Simonelli of Salem faces the following charges:

  • Child enticement (two counts)
  • Exposing genitals (six counts)
  • Third degree sexual assault
  • Attempted sexual intercourse with a child
  • Sexual intercourse with a child
  • Attempted fourth degree sexual assault
  • False imprisonment
  • Second degree sexual assault

According to the criminal complaint, a 16-year-old girl reported that in May 2015, she began working at a restaurant in Kenosha — and Simonelli was her manager. The girl said Simonelli knew she was 16 years old because she was hired when she was 15, and Simonelli had inquired about her age at that time.

The girl told investigators in December, she and Simonelli were working when Simonelli brought her into a back room — where she said Simonelli complimented her and tried kissing her. The girl said she turned her head away.

In January, the girl said she and Simonelli were the only ones left at the restaurant after their shift ended, and Simonelli called her into the office — where he again tried to kiss her. The complaint indicates the girl told investigators she turned her head, but Simonelli was still able to kiss her. Eventually, the girl said she and Simonelli engaged in sex, despite the fact that she told him that she “didn’t want to do it.”

This girl reported two more incidents to investigators — one occurring in January outside the restaurant, and one occurring in February in the restaurant’s office. After the incident in February, the complaint indicates the girl received a message on Facebook from Simonelli — advising her to “not tell anyone” and to “delete the message.”

A few days later, the girl said Simonelli quit his job. She indicated she was told Simonelli tried “doing things” with other employees, and that the restaurant’s owner had found out about Simonelli’s alleged actions.

The complaint says when Simonelli returned to the restaurant to pick up his last paycheck, the restaurant’s owner asked him for “his side of the story.” The complaint indicates Simonelli denied any sort of sexual relationship with the girl. Simonelli was advised that he was no longer welcome at the restaurant.

The complaint makes reference to a second victim, who indicated she worked at the restaurant from August 2014 through July 2015 — when she was 19 years old. This woman told investigators when she first started working at the restaurant, Simonelli would do “little things” like flicking her butt with a towel — but as time went on, the woman said he began touching her more. The woman said Simonelli’s conduct “got annoying” and made her feel uncomfortable.

The woman told investigators an incident occurred at the restaurant when she was in the bathroom cleaning. She indicated Simonelli came into the bathroom and wouldn’t let her leave. Eventually, another staff member came in and Simonelli let her go.

The woman said in March of 2015, Simonelli took her to dinner. She said she agreed to go because she “wanted to give him a second chance.” The complaint indicates the woman told investigators that Simonelli kissed her and tried to touch her inappropriately — but she told him that the conduct was “not cool.”

According to the complaint, in June, the woman said she was closing the restaurant with Simonelli when he pinned her against a bakery rack and he began kissing her neck. Simonelli is then accused of exposing himself — and then woman said she pushed the bakery rack — causing Simonelli to fall. She was able to leave the restaurant.

Investigators spoke with Simonelli on May 10th, and the complaint indicates he initially denied any type of sexual activity with the 16-year-old girl. He eventually admitted to kissing the girl, and attempting to have sex with her, telling investigators “some things happened.”

Simonelli will next be in court on June 17th for a pre-trial conference.