NORTH HUNTINGDON (KDKA) — The owner of a Westmoreland County pizza place is going to trial, on charges he sexually assaulted several women who worked for him.
“He’s not a predator,” said defense attorney Casey White. “He’s a happily married man with children and a business owner who is trying to work hard every day.”
But the alleged victims of Cesare Tiano painted a decidedly different picture of the 62-year-old owner of Grande Pizza on Route 30.
Tiano faces 14 different counts, ranging from indecent assault to harassment after allegedly inappropriately touching or making comments to seven of his former female employees.
“He denies all allegations,” White said. “He’s looking forward to his day in court.”
However, at the preliminary hearing, the alleged victims, ranging in age from 17 to their 50s, testified about Tiano’s alleged actions.
A 19-year-old former waitress testified that it started with “hard, close hugging, then kisses.”
Another defendant took the stand and said, “[Tiano] grabbed me by the throat and whispered in my ear, ‘You’re a dirty, little slut.’”
A 17-year-old former waitress claimed Tiano grabbed her buttocks. She testified that “he’d get real close,” and allegedly would brush by her chest.
However, Tiano’s attorney said the incidents may have more to do with things and behavior being lost in translation.
“Mr. Tiano is originally from Italy and there may be some communication issues,” said White.
But several witnesses testified they understood Tiano and what he was saying.
One former waitress testified that Tiano “offered to pay” her “$100 for video of [her] naked or $50 for pictures.”
Another former worker at Grande’s Pizza testified that Tiano made the comments, “We should be boyfriend and girlfriend,” and “I think we should go swimming topless or naked.”
In the end, all charges against Tiano were held for trial. He is free on bond and continues to work at this pizza shop, facing formal arraignment in October.