Mario Batali to face assault charge on groping accusation

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 19, 2017, file photo, chef Mario Batali attends an awards event in New York. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston says Batali is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, May 24, 2019, on a charge of indecent assault and battery, in connection with an allegation that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

BOSTON — Celebrity chef Mario Batali is set to appear in court on a criminal charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.

Batali is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court on a charge of indecent assault and battery.

The woman filed a civil lawsuit in August alleging that Batali offered to take a selfie with her and then groped and kissed her repeatedly without her consent.

Batali's attorney says the chef denies the allegations.

The woman's lawyers said in an emailed statement on Thursday that Batali "must be held accountable" for his "despicable acts."

It's the first criminal charge against the celebrity chef resulting from several sexual harassment and assault allegations that crippled his career.

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