Celebrity chef Mario Batali was found not guilty today on a charge of indecent assault and battery stemming from an alleged 2017 groping incident in a Boston bar. It was the first criminal charge for the former The Chew chef amid a number of sexual assault and harassment allegations.
Batali had waved his right to a jury trial in the case, accepting a judge’s decision instead. The judge determined that the celebrity chef’s accuser had credibility issues and found Batali not guilty. According to The New York Times the judge also made clear, however, that “It’s an understatement to say that Mr. Batali did not cover himself in glory on the night in question.”
At the time of the allegations, the celebrity chef apologized saying, “My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.”
Had he been found guilty, Batali faced two and a half years in jail. He also would have had to register as a sex offender.
At least seven women have alleged they were inappropriately touched in public by the chef, causing Batali to lose his television jobs. He was fired from ABC’s The Chew in December 2017 as Hollywood’s sexual harassment and assault scandals exploded and also has seen his Las Vegas restaurants shutter and restaurant group partnerships end.
Batali and his business partner agreed last year to pay $600,000 after an investigation into allegations that he and other staff had sexually-harassed employees.