Embattled celebrity chef Mario Batali, who ran restaurants in New York and Connecticut - Westchester and Fairfield counties, among other locales - has been cleared of all charges alleging that he sexually assaulted a woman at a Massachusetts bar.
Boston Municipal Court Judge James Stanton ruled that the 61-year-old chef - who unexpectedly waived his right to a jury before the trial - was not complicit in kissing and groping a woman in a Boston restaurant while taking a photo.
- Original story - Ex-Westchester, Fairfield County Restaurateur Mario Batali's Sexual Misconduct Trial Starts
Specifically, Batali was found not guilty of indecent assault and battery after a fast-moving trial that lasted less than three days.
If he had been convicted, Batali faced more than two years in jail and would have had to register as a sexual offender.
- Related story - Ex-Westchester, Fairfield County Restaurateur Mario Batali Now Under Investigation By NY AG
Suffolk County, Massachusetts District Attorney Kevin Hayden issued a statement following the verdict expressing support for the victim in this case and sexual assault victims.
“While we’re disappointed in the judge’s verdict, my office will not waiver in our support for the victim in this case,” he said. “It can be incredibly difficult for a victim to disclose a sexual assault.
“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,” he continued. “I’m grateful that the victim, in this case, made the decision to come forward, and to every survivor of sexual assault who makes that difficult decision.”
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