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Sex abuse trial set for Gannucci's owner

The West Duluth businessman will face a jury in April.

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DULUTH — A spring trial date has been set for a former West Duluth businessman accused of sexually abusing two minors.

William Arthur Kalligher, 62, was charged last December in two separate cases after police said they were alerted to "numerous sexual assault allegations" in summer 2021.

William Arthur Kalligher.jpg
William Arthur Kalligher

Kalligher, who owned the now-shuttered Gannucci’s Italian Market, faces seven felony charges across the two cases, and he could face significant prison time if convicted.

Kalligher pleaded not guilty to all charges in March, and Judge David Johnson this month scheduled the first of two potential jury trials to begin April 11 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth.

In one case, a victim reportedly told investigators that Kalligher had taken off her clothes and touched her body in an "explorational" way when she was approximately 13-14 years old. 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.

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In the other case, the other victim reported an incident that occurred when he was approximately 9 or 10.

In the first case, Kalligher faces four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The other case alleges one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Under state sentencing guidelines, a first-degree conviction would carry a presumptive prison term of 12 years for an offender lacking any criminal history.

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. He turned it into Gannucci's, expanding the restaurant and store to critical acclaim, including a 2014 appearance on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."

The West Duluth deli and Italian market was established in the mid-1970s as Conito's Italian Village, and was renamed in 2011.

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.

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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 tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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