Mario Batali is under criminal investigation by the New York Police Department for sexual misconduct, according to a new 60 Minutes report featuring interviews with multiple women leveling allegations against the disgraced chef.
When asked by PEOPLE if the NYPD is investigating Batali for sexual assault, a spokesman said the department is “looking into it,” but could not immediately provide details. Huffington Post on Sunday reported that a “source at the NYPD confirmed the investigation to HuffPost but declined to elaborate further.”
In the 60 Minutes report that aired on CBS Sunday, correspondent Anderson Cooper spoke with multiple Batali accusers. One of the women, whose identity was protected by the program, accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her while she was unconscious in 2005.
“I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor,” said the woman, who told 60 Minutes that she was an employee at Batali’s New York City restaurant Babbo at the time. “I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been — I’ve been assaulted.'”
After telling Cooper that she “didn’t think I had been raped,” Batali’s accuser added, “I didn’t feel any trauma internally. But I also did find — I looked on my skirt — there were two areas. It looked like DNA.”
The woman later confirmed to Cooper that she believed semen was on her skirt.
A rep for Batali did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment about 60 Minutes‘ report alleging a criminal investigation is underway.
After reportedly denying CBS’ request for an interview, Batali said in a statement provided to CBS News: “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 unidentified woman in 60 Minutes‘ story said that she spoke with a detective at the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Division.
“They tried getting me to file a report,” she told Cooper. “They tried, they tried. But I — you know, a young actress, no resources, no money. I couldn’t. I, I couldn’t do it.”
60 Minutes reported that her rape kit taken at a hospital was never processed because she never filed a police report and that “hospital records have been expunged.”
As first reported by Eater, Batali was accused of groping several different women that involved “inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades.” Three of the accusers worked for Batali, with one former employee claiming that he grabbed her from behind and pressed her against him repeatedly over the course of two years. Two others described incidents where Batali groped them.
In a statement to Eater following the allegations, Batali said: “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”
In a statement to PEOPLE on Sunday, B&B Hospitality Group — Batali’s restaurant company he co-founded in 1988 with his business partners Joe and Lidia Bastianich — described the stories on 60 Minutes as “chilling and deeply disturbing,” adding, “This was the first we learned of them.”
“Our partnership with Mr. Batali is ending,” B&B Hospitality Group continued. “We have been actively negotiating with Mr. Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants, and he and Joe Bastianich have signed a letter of intent that sets forth the broad terms to do so. We expect to have the final terms set by July 1, and that Nancy Silverton, Lidia Bastianich, Mr. Bastianich, and other current investors will participate in the acquisition.”
Acknowledging its decades-long relationship with one of its founders, B&B said, “We have worked for years with Mr. Batali to bring true, innovative Italian cuisine to our guests. He has been our partner and close friend, but the actions he has acknowledged required us to separate wholly so that we reinforce our core values for our employees and our guests.”
Batali was fired from ABC’s The Chew in December after sexual misconduct allegations emerged, around which time his relationship with B&B began to shift, the company claimed in the statement to PEOPLE.
“We had taken a number of steps in the last six months to separate Mr. Batali from the business, including immediately removing him from any operations this past December and asking Ms. Silverton and Ms. Bastianich to take on business-wide leadership roles and responsibilities,” the company said.
Batali’s company added: “We remain focused on two priorities: ensuring that our employees work with equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination; and continuing to give our guests amazing dining experiences.”