Duluth restaurateur pleads guilty to child sexual assault

The agreement resolves two cases for William Kalligher, who was set to face a jury this week.

A gavel with books behind it.

DULUTH — The former owner of a West Duluth restaurant has pleaded guilty to two felony counts of child sexual abuse.

William Arthur Kalligher, 62, entered guilty pleas Monday in State District Court to first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The resolution came just one day before jury selection was to get underway in the first of two potential trials for the Duluth man known as the owner of the now-shuttered Gannucci's Italian Market.

William Arthur Kalligher.jpg
William Arthur Kalligher

Court records indicate the pleas both relate to misconduct toward a girl who was approximately 13-14 years old at the time of the incidents. A second case had alleged misconduct toward a boy when he was about 9 or 10. Kalligher faced a total of seven felony counts prior to reaching the agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.

Kalligher was first charged in December 2021 after police said they were alerted to "numerous sexual assault allegations" in summer 2021.

The female victim reportedly told investigators that Kalligher had taken off her clothes and touched her. She said Kalligher would be "high on marijuana" at the time and that the touching occurred on at least three occasions, according to a criminal complaint. In the other case, it was alleged that he exposed himself.


Under state sentencing guidelines, a first-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction generally carries a presumptive prison term of at least 12 years for a first-time offender. The precise terms of Kalligher's agreement were not immediately available.

Judge David Johnson ordered Kalligher to comply with a presentence investigation and psychosexual evaluation. He scheduled sentencing for June 12.

Advocates say changes in state law, an evolution of police practices and the addition of new victim resources all help build confidence for those who come forward.

Kalligher worked as a professional cook and operated a refrigeration business before taking over the family-run Italian Village business at 301 N. Central Ave. in 2011 and turning it into Gannucci's. But Kalligher, who had previously expressed plans to reopen the pandemic-shuttered business, quietly closed shop permanently by August 2021 — a decision confirmed only by a liquidation sale announced by an auction house.

Kalligher has remained free since posting a $120,000 bond shortly after his arrest and arraignment.

To get help

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

National Sexual Assault Hotline:24/7 hotline: 800-656-4673

Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA):serves Duluth, Superior and Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas counties; 24/7 hotline 800-649-2921; submit a help request at

Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA):serves southern St. Louis County; 24/7 hotline 218-726-1931

Sexual Assault Program of Northern St. Louis County:serves northern St. Louis County; 24/7 hotline 800-300-3102

Family Pathways:serves Carlton and Pine counties; 24/7 hotline 800-338-7233

Support Within Reach:serves Aitkin and Itasca counties; hotline 866-747-5008

North Shore Horizons:serves Lake County; 24/7 hotline 218-834-5924

Violence Prevention Center:serves Cook County; 24/7 hotline 218-387-1237

Friends Against Abuse:serves Koochiching County; 24/7 hotline 888-344-3264

Fond du Lac Reservation:24/7 hotline 218-348-1817

Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa:Grand Portage Human Services 218-475-2453

Bois Forte Tribal Government–Victim Services Program:emergency cell 218-248-0067

Officers administered first aid and the man was transported by ambulance to St. Luke’s.
Jurors previously hung on all counts against Masterson during a trial in late 2022.
As reported by St. Louis County District Court.
Janelle Johnson has been sentenced to 343 months in prison for the second-degree murder of Jesse Farris, who was fatally shot outside his Bemidji home in December 2020.
William Edward Schindler, 26, entered the plea for shooting one of three officers executing search warrant at a residence in Granite Falls on April 10.
The man was found outside his home Monday evening, May 29, 2023. The fire marshal is investigating the incident.
After years of work, the public will soon get a detailed look at the department's practices.
No arrests have been made.
Officers noticed the spray paint Wednesday evening while preparing for a community event.
Algene Vossen, 81, who was arrested in Sioux Falls, had previously been found incompetent to stand trial for the 1974 killing of Mae Herman in her Willmar home.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
What To Read Next
Get Local