Celebrity chef Mario Batali is expected to be arraigned on criminal charges in a Boston court Friday for allegedly groping a female customer of a restaurant both were visiting in March 2017.
Court documents and media reports say Batali noticed the woman was taking pictures of him inside Towne Stove & Spirits, a now-defunct restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay area that has no operational relationship with the chef.
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. In her account, the chef agreed to the picture, but then started groping her and trying to force her into repeated kisses. It is not clear how much of the interaction was caught on the woman’s phone.
Because the details closely match the facts stated in a civil harassment lawsuit filed against Batali last year, the witness in the criminal case is believed to be Natali Tene, 28 years old at the time of the alleged attack. She filed her suit last August.
Boston’s judicial system has a policy of not revealing the alleged victims of a sexual attack without their permission.
Batali was investigated for criminal wrongdoing last year by New York City authorities after two women provided details during a “60 Minutes” segment of separate alleged attacks by the onetime media star. The New York Police Department did not bring charges against Batali.
The chef, also known as Molto Mario, lost his restaurant empire and his TV gigs after a series of exposes last year, including the segment on “60 Minutes,” alleged that he was known to sexually harass employees, customers and the staff members of associates’ restaurants.
Batali has apologized for his behavior but drew scorn for attaching a cinnamon roll recipe to the statement professing his remorse.