MasterChef Australia All Star Ben Ungermann Charged With Sexual Assault
Police have charged MasterChef Australia All Star contestant Ben Ungermann with two counts of sexual assault.
The charges were laid during the filming of the show, which explained why the 36-year-old made an unexplained exit from the series.
On Sunday's episode, Judge Jock Zonfrillo told the contestants: So, before we get to today's challenge, we've got some news. You're probably wondering where Ben is, yeah? Due to a personal matter, Ben has had to leave the competition and he will not be returning."
Victorian detectives from the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team charged the chef with the offences in March, with the alleged incident occurring in February this year in Melbourne. The alleged victim is a 16-year-old girl.
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Victoria Police confirmed the arrest in a statement: "The arrest follows an investigation into an alleged sexual assault in Docklands on 23 February. A 36-year-old Queensland man has been charged with two counts sexual assault."
MasterChef Australia has remained tight lipped about the incident. A spokesperson said in a statement: "As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment."
Ungermann was granted bail and will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on June 25 for a mention. Top criminal lawyer Adam Houda has been hired to defend Ungermann, who told Daily Mail Australia they were shocked by the charges.
"My client is distressed by the charges, which came as a huge shock to him," he said. "The allegations, I am instructed, are a complete fabrication and are denied."
Featured Image Credit: Channel 10