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Mario Batali faces criminal charge in alleged Boston groping incident

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is facing a criminal charge in Boston after a woman reported that he groped her in March 2017. CREDIT: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for (Red)

BOSTON   — A woman who says Mario Batali forcibly kissed and groped her in a Boston restaurant in 2017 says the celebrity chef “must be held accountable … for his despicable acts.”

The woman said in a statement released by her lawyers Thursday that Batali abused his celebrity status to entice her and that she is “grateful” prosecutors have decided to go forward with the case.

It’s the first criminal charge against Batali resulting from several sexual harassment and assault allegations that crippled his career amid the #MeToo movement.

The 58-year-old Batali recently gave up financial stakes in all his restaurants. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on a charge of indecent assault and battery.

A lawyer for Batali says the chef denies the allegations and expects to be vindicated.

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