The owner of Hillers Pizza was charged late last month with one count of indecent assault of a minor and two counts of witness intimidation following an alleged incident with a teenage female employee in the basement of the restaurant.
Through his attorney, Petros “Peter” Sismanis entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. A pretrial hearing was set for March 22 at 9 a.m. in Framingham District Court.
Contacted by the Independent, Sismanis referred all questions to his attorney, Joseph Eisenstadt, who declined to comment.
At the Jan. 31 hearing, Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bolcun detailed the charges against the 55-year-old Sismanis stemming from the Jan. 12 incident.
“The defendant offered to take the victim downstairs to show her the inventory,” Bolcun stated. “She stated that the defendant sat in a chair, and that while he was sitting, he put his arms around her waist and placed his hand on the center of her back. She stated that he then stood up and began to hug her and kiss her on the mouth while holding his hand on the center of her back. She tried to pull away and the defendant continued kissing her.
“After that finished, he pleaded with her not to say anything because she was too young. Both parties proceeded upstairs and the victim first called her mother to tell her what happened. The mother was at the scene around 9 [p.m.] and spoke to both the victim and defendant. The defendant then attempted to keep both the victim and her mother from leaving the business. The defendant also made statements that he would rather be killed than to call the police.
“The victim’s mother then attempted to get in her vehicle, and the defendant blocked the door to keep it from closing. The victim’s mother stated that this went on for about 15 minutes before she was finally able to close the door and leave the area.”
Prior to the hearing, the judge heard arguments regarding an anti-harassment order that had been filed against Sismanis by the accuser’s mother, who appeared in court. After confirming a few facts, the judge ordered Sismanis to stay 100 yards away from the victim’s school and residence. The order remains in effect until January 2024.
Citing a similar offense from 1997, Bolcun stated that the commonwealth has “serious concerns for the community” and asked the judge to set bail at $2,500 and to order no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18. Sismanis’s attorney objected to this request, asking Judge Jennifer Stark if it could be modified to “no unsupervised contact with females under 18.” “My client owns a pizza shop and has 17-year-old males working there,” Eisenstadt said.
“I don’t know anything about your client and his proclivities, so I’m not inclined to make that change,” the judge responded. Addressing Sismanis, she said, “You’re going to have to figure it out.”
The judge released Sismanis with the condition that he does not contact the alleged victim or go near the girl, her residence or her school, and he has no unsupervised contact with individuals under the age of 18. She issued a stern warning to Sismanis that if he violated any of these terms he could — and most likely would, given the nature of the charges — be held in jail without the possibility of bail.
Sismanis opened Hillers Pizza in 2017 in the strip mall at 77 West Main Street after previously working at Dino’s Pizza, which inhabited the same location. Sismanis is well known for donating to local charitable organizations and for his support of Hopkinton High School athletics, especially the football team.
This is not the first legal issue Sismanis has faced. In September 1997, he was charged with two counts of rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over stemming from an incident in Hopkinton. He pled not guilty to all charges and was released on $6,000 bail. As a condition of his release, Sismanis was ordered to surrender his passport (at the time he was not a U.S. citizen), have no contact with the victim and not travel outside of Massachusetts.
On Sept. 14, 1998, Sismanis changed his plea to guilty on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over. He was ordered to pay $100 and was placed on probation for four years, the first six months with electronic ankle bracelet. He was allowed to go only to work, church and medical appointments. Sismanis was ordered to pay up to $1,000 for the victim’s counseling, and he was to be evaluated for a sexual offenders program.
On Sept. 23, 2002, Sismanis’s probation was ordered terminated, and in May 2005 Judge Peter Lauriat ordered the records destroyed.
In 2019, Sismanis petitioned the court to vacate his plea and guilty finding, requesting post-conviction relief. In his affidavit, Sismanis claimed that the Superior Court failed to advise him of immigration warnings as the law requires. The plea was denied by Judge Kenneth Fishman, who stated that the court had met its burden of proof that the defendant had been advised of his rights.
Editor’s note: Material from multiple sources was used to put together this report, which was compiled by managing editor Jerry Spar.