Chef Mario Batali Facing Criminal Charges in Alleged 2017 Boston Assault

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is facing criminal charges in Boston for allegedly kissing and groping a woman against her will in a restaurant in 2017, The Boston Globe reports. The 58-year-old, who was previously accused of sexual harassment and assault in New York, was charged with “indecent assault and battery” and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday morning, according to the report. A woman reportedly claimed the chef put his arm around her and grabbed her chest while she was trying to take a selfie with him in March 2017. She then alleged Batali started kissing her, touching her groin without consent, and asking her if she wanted to go to his hotel room while “pulling on her face.” The criminal complaint alleged Batali was drunk during the incident, based on his “smell” and his eyes being half-closed. The woman's lawyer declined to comment to the newspaper, while Batali's lawyer denied the accusations. “The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit,” attorney Anthony Fuller said. “He intends to fight the allegations vigorously and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali.” If convicted, he could face 2.5 years in jail and would have to register as a sex offender.