(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- According to a major media outlet, celebrity chef Mario Batali was recently cleared of sexual assault charges. If convicted, the 61-year-old restaurateur could have faced up to two and a half years in jail and might have been compelled to register as a sex offender.
Batali was charged in 2017 for alleged groping of a female at a Boston pub. Judge James Stanton of the Boston Municipal Court ruled Batali was not guilty of indecent assault and battery charges brought in 2019. His accuser had severe credibility concerns, according to the court, which led to the not guilty finding.
According to reports, Natali Tene, 32, claimed that Batali had groped her breasts, buttocks, and crotch area and forcibly kissed her while drunkenly posing for photos with her at a bar near Boston’s Eataly, the Italian market and restaurant he at the time part-owned.
Judge Stanton stated that while the celebrity chef did not appear to have a polite manner that night, the images from the event were enough to put reasonable doubt on the sexual assault allegations. According to reports, Tene posed for several photos over a long period, and there were apparent gaps between the two persons in the photographs.
Natali Tene’s veracity was further questioned when Batali’s counsel alleged that she used her claim to be a “clairvoyant” to avoid jury duty. According to a report, the court was also shown a text conversation between Tene and a friend, which sullied her accusations even further. Tene was instructed by the friend to play up her story while speaking to the press in 2018, and Tene allegedly agreed it was a good idea.
According to the media, this wasn’t the first time Batali had been embroiled in a sexual scandal. A four-year investigation by the New York attorney general’s office revealed an alleged culture of harassment at his former Manhattan restaurants, which included at least 20 men and women who claimed to have been sexually assaulted while working there.
In 2021, Batali and his former business partner Joe Bastianich were obliged to pay the alleged victims a $600,000 settlement.