A former employee of Chuck’s Burger Bar, a now-closed restaurant in downtown Victoria, has been arrested in connection with sexual assaults linked to local restaurants and bars in Hamilton, Ont.
Jesse Chiavaroli, 41, was arrested in Burnaby last week on six counts of sexual assault and was escorted back to Hamilton for a bail hearing on Tuesday, according to the Hamilton Police Service.
Police say Chiavaroli, a former resident of Niagara and Hamilton, worked in the restaurant and bar industry in downtown St. Catharines and Niagara Falls between 2009 and 2015 and in Hamilton between 2015 and 2018.
“As a result of information brought forward from the community, the Hamilton Police Sexual Assault Unit commenced an investigation into Jesse Chiavaroli. Investigators also worked closely with the Ontario Provincial Police and Niagara Regional Police Service after reports involving Chiavaroli were made in those areas,” Hamilton Police Services said in a press release.
Earlier this year, at least a dozen women posted on the Survivor Stories Project site, accusing Chiavaroli, then an employee of Chuck’s Burger Bar in Victoria of sexually assaulting them. The women say the employee over-served them alcohol, drugged their drinks, and sexually assaulted them.
The owners of Chuck’s Burger Bar said in a statement back in February that Chiavaroli denied the accusations but was terminated from his position in January.
However, after the accusations were posted, protests were held outside the Yates Street restaurant and eventually it shut down.
Meanwhile, the Victoria Police Department has publicly stated that it has been investigating the allegations and said in February that they were working with other law enforcement agencies.
“It is our understanding that there are connections here to Ontario. We have been in contact communication with outside agencies in Ontario and that will be a piece of the investigation moving forward,” said Const. Cam MacIntyre, media spokesperson with the Victoria Police Department.
Hamilton Police say they believe there are more victims and are encouraging survivors to contact their Sexual Assault Unit non-emergency line at 1-905-540-5553.
None of the allegations against Chiavaroli in either Ontario or British Columbia have been proven in court.