A lawyer acting on behalf of MasterChef star Ben Ungermann has claimed the 36-year-old is ‘distressed’ and ‘strenuously denies’ charges of sexual assault brought against him.
Victoria police confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle yesterday that an arrest and charge had taken place, though they would not confirm the details of Ben’s case.
“Melbourne Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team detectives have charged a man following an incident in the Docklands earlier this year,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
They confirmed a 36-year-old Queensland man has been charged with two counts of sexual assault. The man is due to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 25 June.
The arrest follows the investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in Docklands on 23 February.
“My client is very distressed by the charges levelled against him. I am instructed that the allegations are a complete fabrication and are strenuously denied,” Ben’s lawyer, Adam Houda told news.com.au.
The 36-year-old chef from Queensland disappeared mid-season from this year’s season of MasterChef over an incident the show’s network described as ‘personal’.
Channel 10 first confirmed Ben’s departure in April, simply stating the chef had left and that the incident was ‘a police matter’.
Ben Ungermann quietly removed from MasterChef
MasterChef fans became suspicious that fan favourite Ben had been quietly removed from the competition amid the buzz of Katy Perry’s much-anticipated guest appearance. While fellow contestants swooned over the pop star, Ben was nowhere to be seen for the entirety of last week’s immunity challenge.
Fans couldn’t help but notice the contestant was missing from the gantry where non-participants traditionally cheer on competitors.
“Where's Ben gone from Masterchef?” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“OK BUT TEA TIME - WHERE IS BEN? HAS HE BEEN KICKED OFF,” another asked.
MasterChef star breaks silence after shock exit from show
MasterChef fans were initially delighted to see season-9 runner-up Ben take part in the newest series.
But Channel 10 confirmed in April that following a police incident, the contestant was removed from the show midway through filming.
“We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment,” the spokesman said, according to news.com.au.
Ben addressed the issue on his Instagram account shortly after, confirming he was no longer part of the production.
“I’m actually devastated,” a fan write in his comments section. “How do they edit you out?”
“That’s up to MasterChef Australia. Appreciate the support,” he responded.
In another comment, a fan said he’d heard a rumour that Ben had been taken off the show due to a police incident, with the chef replying: “Don’t believe everything you read guys”.
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at email@example.com.