Editor’s note: The below story contains details regarding sexual assaults that may be upsetting to some readers.
NORTH SMITHFIELD –The new owner of a Slatersville pizza shop is free on personal recognizance after state prosecutors lodged a dozen counts of sexual misconduct against him that resulted from his alleged behavior as manager of another restaurant – Ciro’s Tavern in neighboring Woonsocket.
Following an investigation initiated by the city’s police department, Aaron Andrews, 30, of 144 Oregon Ave., Woonsocket, is facing four counts of second-degree sexual assault, four counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of simple assault, one count of indecent solicitation of a child and one count of electronically disseminating indecent material to a minor, according to the judiciary’s web site.
Andrews was originally arrested by the Woonsocket Police Department on May 16, shortly after severing ties with Ciro’s and just a day after he reportedly petitioned the North Smithfield Town Council for a license to take over Hercules Pizza from the original owners.
At the time, the WPD filed just a handful of charges against Andrews after three women between the ages of 17 and 20 came forward to file complaints against him.
On Wednesday, Oct. 4, Attorney General Peter Neronha announced that it had affirmed the Woonsocket police charges and filed a number of additional counts against Andrews in Providence County Superior Court.
The new charges mark a considerable expansion of the allegations against Andrews. At the time of his arrest, for example, there were no charges of third-degree sexual assault, a crime that involves sexual penetration of a minor. The attorney general said the charges against Andrews were the result of a process known as criminal information, which is essentially a review of evidence by state prosecutors.
“As alleged in the criminal information, the defendant sexually assaulted several co-workers on multiple occasions between Jan. 1, 2022 and April 1, 2023,” Neronha announced. “The alleged incidents took place at a Woonsocket restaurant where the defendant was manager.”
According to Woonsocket police reports, the allegations against Andrews include incidents in which he forcibly groped or fondled the victims in the workplace, sometimes reaching into their clothing to touch their breasts. The victims told police they feared that Andrews would change their work schedules, denying them opportunities to make extra money, if they did not comply with his demands.
Andrews allegedly made crudely coercive comments to the victims, asking for sexual favors, and sometimes humiliated them in front of customers, according to the police reports. Once, while clutching a canister of foam topping, one of the victims told police, he allegedly said he “wishes he sprays the whip cream all over her boobs” while patrons were able to observe him.
On another occasion, Andrews allegedly sent inappropriate photos of himself in the shower to one of the victims while she was at home. She told him to stop sending the Snapchat images and Andrews “flipped her off” via a text message, according to police.
Andrews is free on $30,000 personal recognizance pending a pre-arraignment conference in Superior Court on Jan. 8, according to the judiciary’s web site.
Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo