US News

NYPD closes investigations into Mario Batali

No charges filed against celebrity chef

(CNN) - The New York Police Department has closed its two investigations into sexual misconduct allegations against celebrity chef and restaurateur Mario Batali without filing charges, a law enforcement official told CNN on Tuesday.

CNN has reached out to a representative for Batali.

Only one of the two cases the NYPD's Special Victims Division was investigating was within the statute of limitations, the official told CNN, and the NYPD was not able to develop probable cause in either of the two cases.

The department doesn't have any open cases into Batali, the official said.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the matter.

Allegations against Batali first surfaced in December 2017, after the restaurant news website Eater reported on four accounts of women who claimed that Batali "touched them inappropriately in a pattern of behavior that appears to span at least two decades."

Batali stepped away from his gig co-hosting ABC's "The Chew" shortly after the report published, an ABC spokesperson confirmed then. The Food Network, which aired Batali's show, "Molto Mario," from 1996 to 2004, told CNN in December that it was shelving plans to bring back the program.

The NYPD in May confirmed to CNN that it was investigating allegations against Batali that were raised in a report on "60 Minutes." Women who worked in restaurants associated with Batali told CNN that inappropriate behavior was commonplace.

Trish Nelson, a former worker at The Spotted Pig who said Batali made crude remarks about her in front of celebrity customers, challenged members of Batali's inner circle late Tuesday to come forward with the truth about other assaults they witnessed. Nelson also has said Batali asked to wrestle with her and touch her breasts.

"Where are the other members of Mario's entourage? Have they been questioned? He loved to show off for his industry friends and make the female service staff in all of their establishments the butt of his jokes and the objects of his sexual desire and unwarranted advances," Nelson said in a statement to CNN.

"I know for a fact that there are other sexual assault victims out there," she said. "In order for them to muster the strength to come forward, they desperately need these witnesses and industry leaders to gather their integrity and finally step up to the plate."

Batali in a statement last year said: "I vehemently deny any allegations of sexual assault. My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions." He declined to be interviewed by "60 Minutes."

Batali's former hospitality group, B&B Hospitality, in May decided to end its partnership with him. CNN has reached out to the group for comment.


Editor Notes

This Just In