Restaurant manager accused of sexually assaulting job applicant

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Kris Kirschner/Eyewitness News

Greenwood - A woman who went to apply for a job at a popular Greenwood restaurant says she got an unwelcome offer from the manager instead.

Sophia's House of Pancakes is a popular breakfast place on Main Street in Greenwood, and what one woman hoped would be a future place of employment. But one afternoon in late March, police say the potential employee instead became the victim of a sexual crime.

"He used that position of interviewing someone to make sexual advances toward her," said Bradley Cooper, Johnson County prosecutor.

This week prosecutors charged one of the managers of Sophia's House of Pancakes with sexual battery.

According to court documents, 54-year-old Haris Philis was interviewing a woman for a job at the restaurant when she says he "unexpectedly grabbed her" and "kissed her on the mouth," telling her, "I just want to touch you" and asked her for specific sex acts while forcing her into a chair.

The manager of the restaurant didn't want to talk on camera, saying he was concerned what it would do to business. But he did say the suspect no longer works there and he says the accusations are untrue.

"In this case we believe we have sufficient evidence to corroborate her story," said Cooper.

Philis allegedly admitted to investigators he did something wrong, telling them the victim "said no a couple of times but he did not think she was serious" and that the situation was a "nightmare" and he "feels shameful."

As for prosecutors, they are ready to take the case to court. Philis turned himself in late Friday afternoon after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Police had been searching for him.

Prosecutors say they also issued a "no contact" order because they say Philis called his victim repeatedly after the incident and even met with her in person. He faces a felony charge of sexual battery.