Celebrity chef Mario Batali to face indecent assault charge in Boston

Chef Mario Batali attends an awards event in New York, April 19, 2017.

A year and a half since first facing sexual harassment allegations, Mario Batali now faces criminal charges for indecent assault and battery in Boston.

Batali, 58, entered the not guilty plea during his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office did not release the accuser's name in this case, but the facts match up with details from a lawsuit filed in 2018 by a Boston-area woman.

Lawyers Eric Baum and Matthew Fogelman are representing the woman, and recently told the Globe she is "grateful that the Suffolk County District Attorney's office in Boston has chosen to go forward in prosecuting Mario Batali on criminal charges of sexually assaulting her. Mr. Batali must be held accountable criminally and civilly for his despicable acts".

This post was updated Friday, May 24, after Mario Batali was arraigned in Boston. When she pulled away from the chef, she alleges he continued "pulling on her face" and invited her back to his hotel room. At the request of Batali's lawyer, a judge said that requirement would be waived should he need to testify in her lawsuit.

Although the woman was not named in the criminal complaint, its accusations were on par with claims made against Batali by a MA woman named Natali Tene last August.

"The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit", Attorney Anthony Fuller said in an emailed statement. After being accused of sexual misconduct, Batali's partners officially dissolved him from the restaurants he co-owned.

The woman, whose identity has not been revealed in criminal filings, told the police she approached Batali and asked him to pose with her for a selfie.

"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. "My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses", he wrote. He premiered on Food Network in 1997 on the show "Molto Mario" and in 2011 helped launch the daytime cooking show "The Chew" on ABC. Batali holds a stake in the Spotted Pig and has also faced allegations of sexual assault in the restaurant.