- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

TYRONE, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania pizza shop owner denies making lewd comments to eight employees aged 16 to 18, and kissing or fondling them, though he’s waived a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Defense attorney Steven Passarello says 62-year-old Samy El Masry, of Tyrone, continued to deny the charges filed last month.

Tyrone police say their investigation began when a 16-year-old girl complained of being touched in appropriately on her first day of work. Police eventually interviewed seven other teens, some male, some female, who related various complaints about lewd conduct, comments or unwanted touching or kissing.

El Masry formerly lived in Brockway and twice ran as the Democratic challenger in the state’s 66th House District. He lost both times, in 2006 and 2008, to incumbent Republican state Rep. Sam Smith.

El Masry waived the hearing Thursday.

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