BEVERLY — A 56-year-old Beverly man was released on a GPS bracelet Friday, three days after his arraignment on charges that he groped and tried to kiss a 17-year-old co-worker at a Beverly supermarket on New Year's Eve.
Flamur Jahaj, of 6 Rantoul St., has pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery. Prosecutors on Friday asked a judge to hold Jahaj in custody pending trial as a danger to that girl and, potentially, others.
Jahaj and the victim are co-workers at Stop & Shop on Enon Street (Route 1A) in Beverly.
During a shift on Dec. 31, the girl told police, her supervisors and others, Jahaj began pestering her to take a break and go for coffee, until she finally relented to be friendly, she said.
Jahaj had also repeatedly told the girl's supervisors to give her a break, even though she didn't want one, police later learned.
When they returned to the store, she said, Jahaj hugged the girl, who had just told him her age. She was able to move away, but he then hugged her again, telling her she was cute, according to a police report.
"The victim stated that she thought it was really weird but she didn't know what to do," police said. Jahaj then told her he loved her and began trying to kiss her while still holding her. She told police that she was in fear of being hurt if she tried to move away forcefully.
She said Jahaj then grabbed her chest, buttocks and between her legs, and asked if they could go to her car. She pushed away from him and went inside the store, where she was "in shock, anxious, shaking and breathing rapidly," police said.
When she approached a manager to tell him, the manager responded by asking if Jahaj had touched her.
Police say that on her way out, Jahaj tried to block her path, holding each side of the railing, and asked, "You didn't say anything, did you?"
A store manager walked her to her car and, he told police, then saw Jahaj in the lot, apparently looking for her. Jahaj also asked the managers for a phone number for the girl.
The girl went home. Her mother later called police.
Prosecutor Michael Varone called the allegations "extremely concerning behavior" and, coupled with prior confrontations between Jahaj and police following a drunken driving arrest, raised concerns that he poses a danger.
Following arrests for drunken driving in 2016 and 2017, police described Jahaj as "extremely intoxicated and combative." He was so drunk during his 2017 arrest, they said, he had to be carried to a police cruiser.
Varone also noted that Jahaj has been subject to deportation proceedings twice, in 2009 and 2012.
Jahaj's lawyer, Mark Barry, said his client is currently in the United States on an asylum visa.
Barry said his client denies the allegations and would agree to stay away from the girl if released.
"There's more to it," said the lawyer, who suggested that cultural differences and a language barrier may have played a role in the situation.
"He's worked at Stop & Shop for 20 years, he's been married to his wife for 25 years and they have a 23-year-old son," said Barry. "I would hate to see him lose a 20-year career at Stop & Shop."
Judge Robert Brennan said that while he is satisfied there is clear and convincing evidence that Jahaj poses a danger to children and the community, given his successful past completion of probation and limited criminal history, he would release him on a bracelet.
Among the conditions of that release are a GPS monitoring bracelet, which will be set to send an alert if Jahaj goes near the girl's home, school or workplace.
A pretrial hearing is set for Feb. 5.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.