Celebrity chef Mario Batali is being charged with indecent assault and battery, more than a year after admitting to sexual misconduct.
Batali has faced civil litigation, but this is the first time that he has been criminally charged for sexual misconduct. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Friday morning.
The Boston Globe, citing a criminal complaint filed April 4, reported Wednesday that a woman told police that Batali assaulted her in 2017 at a Boston restaurant.
The woman alleged that when she went to take a selfie with Batali, he grabbed her chest, kissed her and touched her groin without her consent, the newspaper reported. The woman said she pulled away, but he allegedly kept “pulling on her face” and asked if she wanted to join him in his hotel room, according to the Globe. She declined and left the restaurant.
If convicted, Batali faces up to 2½ years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender, the Globe said.
In December 2017, online food publication Eater reported accusations of sexual harassment and assault from four women against the celebrity chef. In an apology to fans via his newsletter, Batali infamously included a recipe for pizza dough cinnamon rolls. He also left the ABC daytime television show “The Chew” after the allegations surfaced.
More than a year later, in March, Batali gave up his restaurants. The Bastianich family bought his shares in all of his restaurants after dissolving its partnership with the chef. In addition, the Italian food hall chain Eataly said it was in the process of acquiring Batali’s minority stake.
“Mr. Batali denies the allegations in both this criminal complaint and the civil complaint filed last August,” attorney Anthony Fuller said in the statement to NBC Boston on Wednesday night. “The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit. He intends to fight the allegations vigorously, and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali.”
Read more about the criminal charges Batali is facing here.