Share

Mario Batali to face assault charge on groping accusation

Share

BOSTON (AP) — Celebrity chef Mario Batali, whose career crumbled amid several sexual misconduct accusations, pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.

Batali, 58, wearing his signature red ponytail and a blazer, did not speak during the brief hearing but nodded as the judge ordered him to stay away from the woman.

The court entered a not guilty plea on Batali’s behalf to a charge of indecent assault and battery.

Batali was released on his own recognizance. He will not have to appear at the next hearing, scheduled for July 12.

It’s the first criminal charge levied against Batali following sexual harassment and assault allegations that first surfaced in 2017.

Trending:
Former NYPD Chief Calls Big Brian Laundrie Development 'Very Strange,' Suggests 'Something Is Amiss'

The woman says Batali noticed her taking a photo of him at the restaurant and invited her to take a selfie with him. She says Batali then groped and kissed her repeatedly without her consent.

The woman filed a civil lawsuit against Batali in August, seeking unspecified damages for “severe emotional distress.”

Batali did not comment as he walked through a slew of reporters to leave the courthouse Friday. His lawyer said earlier this week that the charge is “without merit.”

“He intends to fight the allegations vigorously and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali,” attorney Anthony Fuller said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

The woman’s attorneys applauded the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office for bringing the case.

“Mr. Batali must be held accountable criminally and civilly for his despicable acts,” lawyers Eric Baum and Matthew Fogelman said in an email to media.

Batali could face up to 2½ years in jail, if convicted. He would also have to register as a sex offender.

Batali’s food empire included such high-end eateries as Babbo in Del Posto in New York City as well as restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Singapore. He became a household name through appearances on Food Network shows such as “Iron Chef America.”

He stepped down from operations of his restaurants and was kicked off the ABC show “The Chew” in 2017 after four women accused him of inappropriate touching.

Related:
Supreme Court Rejects Plea to Reimpose Death Penalty on Inmate Charged with Rape and Murder

Batali said at the time about those allegations that “much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.”

He also came under fire for sending a newsletter to subscribers that included both an apology for “many mistakes” and a recipe for a “holiday-inspired breakfast.”

Batali announced in March that his longtime partner, Joe Bastianich, and others had bought out his share in his restaurants.

The New York Police Department said last year that it was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against the chef after a woman told “60 Minutes” that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005. Batali denied assaulting the woman.

___

Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation