Celebrity chef Mario Batali, who co-owns a pair of area restaurants and an artisanal market, is under criminal investigation by the New York Police Department for sexual assault, according to a report broadcast last night on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”The “60 Minutes” report included interviews with four women who alleged that they were assaulted by Batali and his business partner Ken Friedman, including one woman who requested anonymity who claimed that Batali drugged and molested her in 2005 when she was an employee at one of his Manhattan restaurants. The woman said she initially contacted the NYPD but declined to file a police report on the incident, despite pressure from detectives.
Batali, who co-owns and co-operates the Tarry Lodge and the Tarry Market in Port Chester and the Tarry Lodge Westport, took a leave of absence from his businesses last December when he became the subject of media reports of sexual misconduct during the 1990s and 2000s.
Batali was not interviewed by “60 Minutes,” but issued a statement related to the anonymous woman’s claims that read: “I vehemently deny the allegation that I sexually assaulted this woman. My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions. I am not attempting a professional comeback. My only focus is finding a personal path forward — a path where I can continue in my charitable endeavors — helping the underprivileged and those in need.”
The NYPD did not issue any public statement that expanded on the depth of their investigation into Batali.