Mario Batali is facing another sexual assault charge, about a year and a half since the first allegations emerged against him and his empire began to crumble as a result.
The chef is set to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court on an indecent assault and battery charge relating to a March 2017 incident in a Boston restaurant, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to People.
The charge comes in response to the allegations of a woman who claims that Batali kissed and groped her without consent, according to The Boston Globe. Batali's attorney denied the allegations in a statement to the Globe — saying they are "without merit" — and said that Batali intends to fight the charges. The attorney also clarified the charges are brought by the "same individual" who made previous allegations, and is suing Batali, and that they are "without new basis."
In the court records obtained by the Globe, Batali allegedly put his arm around the woman, grabbed her chest, touched her groin, and kissed her face without consent — after she'd asked to take a photo with him. The woman reportedly alleges that Batali appeared to be intoxicated, which she claimed she could tell “by the smell and half-closed eyes” kept “pulling on her face."
Allegations against Batali first emerged on December 11, 2017. The chef followed up with a botched apology letter, but the fallout began swiftly: All traces of Batali vanished from Eataly, he was fired from The Chew (which ABC eventually canceled), his restaurants closed, and other chefs stepped back from their associations with his name.
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