According to a police report on Monday, celebrity chef Mario Batali is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault which happened way back in 2005 as a report arose from an inquiry into a second assault accusation against him in 2004.
“I vehemently deny any allegations of sexual assault,” Batali said in a statement issued by his representative Linden Zakula. “My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions.”
Batali said he was not attempting a professional comeback and added, “My only focus is finding a personal path forward where I can continue in my charitable endeavors – helping the underprivileged and those in need.”
According to a report on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” program that aired on Sunday, the chef, who owns various restaurants, has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting an employee at one of his restaurants in 2005.
The New York City Police Department affirmed in an email on Monday that it was investigating the 2005 allegation.
Batali is one of many high-profile men who has been fired or resigned from their jobs in politics, media, entertainment, and business after facing allegations of sexually harassing or assaulting women and men.
In December, after the accusations of four women were reported by online food trade publication Eater New York, ABC Television Network said it had fired Batali from its cooking show, “The Chew” and Batali stepped away from his restaurant company.
In the “60 Minutes” interview, CBS covered the accuser’s face with shaded lighting. The woman said she was worried that if her identity was known, it would jeopardize her future job prospects in the restaurant industry.
“Who wants to be defined by their worst day in their life?” she asked.
Other restaurant workers told the program on the record that they had witnessed Batali touching women improperly.
Batali is also being investigated over a claim by another woman who said he raped her after she was drugged a year earlier.
Referring to an unidentified source, a woman told police two months ago that she had been assaulted by Batali at his Babbo restaurant in 2004.
According to the reports, the New York City Police Department would not confirm the complaint.
The police did not quickly respond to a Reuters request for comment regarding the matter.