A trial for a local deli co-owner accused of sexually assaulting a woman in downtown Long Beach while she was allegedly drugged is set to begin on Sept. 3, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s (LADA) office.
Steven Michael DeSisto, 53, co-owner of Rocco’s Deli Italiano restaurants, located in Long Beach and Signal Hill, is charged with sexually assaulting a woman he met at a bar, known as House of Hayden, at 421 E. 1st St. last year.
Sarah Ardalani, spokesperson for the LADA, said a court trial is scheduled to take place at the Long Beach Courthouse in Department 20. During the trial, a jury will be selected, prosecutors and the defendant will present their cases and witnesses may be brought out to give testimony, she said.
Prosecutors state that, in August 2013, DeSisto had drinks with the female victim at the bar and drove the intoxicated woman to his apartment, located in the area of Ocean Boulevard and Orange Avenue. At his apartment, he allegedly sexually assaulted her “several times.” After the assault, the victim fled DeSisto’s residence and called police.
During a police investigation, police found a picture of the victim on DeSisto’s cellphone and cocaine in his apartment.
DeSisto, who is being held in Long Beach jail on $2 million bail, is charged with two counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object while the victim was “drugged,” one count of eavesdropping and one count of possession of a controlled substance, according to the LADA’s office.
DeSisto was arrested on Jan. 15 and booked for three felony charges and one misdemeanor, including two counts of felony sexual assault, one felony count of drug possession and one misdemeanor count of photographing an unconscious person.
DeSisto has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The investigation is ongoing, and investigators believe “there may be additional victims who have never contacted police,” according to Long Beach police officials.
During a preliminary hearing in February, the victim gave testimony, stating that she blacked out after some drinks and later awoke naked on her back in a bathtub in DeSisto’s apartment, according to local media reports.
DeSisto faces a maximum of 11 years and eight months in state prison if convicted, according to the DA’s office.