By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on January 9, 2020
Bambos Charalambous, the former general manager of Capt. George’s Seafood Buffet and a Kill Devil Hills resident, pleaded “no contest” to simple assault in Dare County District Court on Jan. 9. The plea is in connection to an August 2018 incident in which he was charged with assaulting a female employee at the restaurant by forcibly hugging and kissing her.
As a result of an agreement reached between the District Attorney’s office and defense attorney Dan Merrell, District Court Judge Amber Davis granted Charalambous a Prayer for Judgment Continued, which essentially means the conviction will not be entered, but could be counted against him during sentencing if he is ever convicted of any other charges in the future.
A no contest plea means the person doesn’t admit guilt or dispute the charges.
Reading from a statement, the victim told the court about the August 2018 incident in which she said Charalambous forcibly held her in a prolonged embrace and kissed her against her will. She also described the anguish the incident has caused her.
“What he did was an abuse of power, manipulative, lustful and disgusting,” she told the court during the Jan. 9 hearing.
Charalambous was originally charged with simple assault in July 2019 and was scheduled to go to court last October. The charge was increased to assault on a female when there was no resolution in the case, but later reduced back to the original charge as part of the plea agreement.
Defense attorney Merrell briefly questioned the victim during the hearing, asking her, “Isn’t it a family restaurant where there is a lot of hugging,”
“No, he kissed me,” the victim responded, refuting the idea that the behavior was a typical friendly workplace gesture.
The Voice, like a number of other news organizations, adheres to a policy of not naming the victim of sexual harassment or assault unless he or she chooses to be publicly identified.
Merrell declined to comment immediately following the Jan. 9 hearing. “Absolutely no comment,” he told the Voice.
When interviewed by the Voice in October regarding the pending charges against his client, Merrell asserted, “These charges are totally false. Mr. Bambos hasn’t assaulted anyone.”
In an October interview, the employee who filed the complaint said the company that owned Captain George’s was supportive of her in the aftermath of the incident. Owned by George and Sherry Pitsilides, Captain George’s also has restaurants in Williamsburg, VA, Myrtle Beach, SC and in its flagship location in Virginia Beach.
Charalambous has served on the Outer Banks Tourism Board as well as the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He served as general manager of the 500-seat Captain George’s restaurant that first opened its doors in Kill Devil Hills in 2009.