Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Found Not Guilty in Sexual Assault Trial

Mario Batali.
Steven Senne/AP/Shutterstock

Mario BataliWas found not guilty of indecent attack and battery. Natali TeneHe was accused of grouping her at a bar.

The bench trial concluded on Tuesday, February 10, and was concluded by the judge. Judge James Stanton stated, per multiple outlets, that Batali’s conduct was “not befitting of a public person of his stature” but that Tene has “significant credibility issues” that supported his “contention that her motive was financial gain.”

On the same day, Suffolk County District attorney was appointed Kevin HaydenHayden expressed disappointment at the verdict. “It can be incredibly difficult for a victim to disclose a sexual assault,” Hayden said in a statement to CNN. “When the individual who committed such an abhorrent act is in a position of power or celebrity, the decision to report an assault can become all the more challenging and intimidating.”

Hayden noted that his office “will not waiver in our support for the victim in this case.”

Batali, 61, was first in the news after multiple women made allegations about him groping and unwanted propositions. At least four women claimed that he sexually assaulted their bodies.

The Washington native retracted his silence about the claims at that time. “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted,” he said in a statement to Eater in December 2017. “That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

After additional allegations were made in May 2018, the New York Police Department launched an investigation. They closed it one year later, due to a lack evidence.

The restaurateur thought about his decision to leave the spotlight one year later. “I’m not going to live my life in public anymore,” he told New York MagazineDecember 2018. “I’m a lucky man. Well, it’s been a bad year.”

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