MasterChef: Back to Win contestant Ben Ungermann has denied the sexual assault allegations that have been made against him by a 16-year-old girl.
According to Sydney-based lawyer, Adam Houda, who confirmed his representation of the 36-year-old via Twitter, the allegations against Ungermann are “vehemently denied and will be defended.”
I act for Ben Ungermann.
Allegations against my client are vehemently denied and will be defended. #MasterChefAU
— Adam Houda (@LawyerAdamHouda) May 19, 2020
In an interview with News.com.au, Houda said the client was “very distressed by the charges levelled against him.”
“I am instructed that the allegations are a complete fabrication and are strenuously denied,” he said.
Victoria Police confirmed to the outlet that they had laid charges on a Queensland man in March.
“Melbourne Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team detectives have charged a man following an incident in the Docklands earlier this year,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.
“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 of sexual assault.
“He has been bailed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on June 25.”
Ungermann is listed twice on Melbourne Magistrates’ Court’s daily listings for that date, and according to a spokesperson for Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, both charges are “sexual assault-related”.
Back in March, production company Endemol Shine released a statement announcing that the MasterChef contestant had been removed from the competition and arrested by police due to a “personal nature”.
“As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment,” the spokesman said at the time of the announcement.
As the season drew on, fans began to speculate when Ungermann would leave the series, often Tweeting when he was missing from certain elements of the show.
However, it wasn’t until the second last night of twist week (May 14), judge Jock Zonfrillo addressed the issue directly before the arrival of Katy Perry.
“You’re probably wondering where Ben is,” Zonfrillo said to the remaining contestants. “Due to a personal matter, Ben has had to leave the competition and he will not be returning.”