• Mario Batali due in Boston court for arraignment on indecent assault, battery charges

    By: Maria Papadopoulos

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Celebrity chef Mario Batali is expected to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Friday on a charge of indecent assault and battery.

    The criminal charge stems from an alleged incident at a Back Bay restaurant in 2017, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement Wednesday.

    The details in the complaint mirror those filed in a civil lawsuit filed against Batali in August alleging he forcibly kissed and groped a woman in a Boston restaurant.

    The suit alleges that the 28-year-old Massachusetts woman spotted Batali in the restaurant in April 2017 and tried to take a photo. The suit says Batali invited her to take a selfie with him then, without asking for permission, repeatedly kissed and groped her.

    Several other women have previously come forward to allege sexual misconduct by Batali.

    An attorney for Batali told the Boston Globe that the chef denies the allegations. His lawyer didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.

    "The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit," Attorney Anthony Fuller told the newspaper. "He intends to fight the allegations vigorously and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali," he said.

    Several other women have previously come forward to allege sexual misconduct by Batali. Batali stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant empire and cooking show in December 2017 after four women accused him of inappropriate touching.

    Batali has apologized for past behavior, but did not say what behavior he was referring to.

    "I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team," Batali said in an email newsletter he distributed at the time. "My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility."

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