Police have dropped their investigation into sexual assault allegations against disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali—at least for now. According to the NY Times, the NYPD could reopen the cases at a later date, if they come up with additional evidence that compels them to do so. At the moment, however, they say they don't have enough to arrest Batali, despite the mountain of complaints against him.

In late 2017, the so-called reckoning came for Batali—who, until news of what multiple women classified as a pattern of predatory behavior, presided over a sprawling culinary empire—in a string of damning articles. First, Eater published a report detailing the experiences of many women in the restaurant industry who said the chef routinely made inappropriate advances on them in professional contexts.

Next came an NY Times report examining Ken Friedman, former owner of The Spotted Pig, a West Village institution where Batali was an investor. Employees alleged that Batali had not only groped and verbally harassed women who worked at The Spotted Pig, but also that he had sexually assaulted an unconscious woman in the restaurant's third-floor VIP lounge, which some staffers dubbed the "rape room." In May, the employee who'd seen that encounter and intervened said on 60 Minutes that she had "no doubt" that Batali had "absolutely" touched a woman between her legs while she was passed out. During that same segment, another of Batali's one-time employees recalled waking up in an empty room at The Spotted Pig in 2005, after hanging out with him at the restaurant one night. She woke up with deep scratches on her legs and semen on her skirt, along with the feeling that she'd been drugged.

Batali denied that particular allegation, but in response to previous articles, expressed remorse for his actions (in the same breath as he promoted his cinnamon roll recipe, which arguably undercuts the sincerity) and pledged to take time away from his business, which he told Eater he would spend trying to earn back his fans' "respect and trust."

The chef reportedly spent those circumspect months planning his quiet reentry onto the culinary stage, while the NYPD launched an investigation into three allegations against him. One was the (alleged) 2005 rape at The Spotted Pig. Another came from a woman who told police that, in 2004, Batali raped her at one of his restaurants, Babbo. The third incident involved another woman who said she woke up in The Spotted Pig's aforementioned "rape room" around 2008, without any memory as to how she'd gotten there. Although the statute of limitations had run out on both of the earlier cases, according to police, the one from 2008 was viable—but unfortunately, the woman is unable to remember the details, and investigators need her memory to move forward.

"She couldn't put the pieces together," a police source told the Times. "Something happened to that victim in that room, but we don't know if it's criminal or not."

While Batali has admitted that the lewd commentary and non-consensual touching women have attributed to him jells with his behavior, as the Times points out, he has "vehemently denie[d]" having sex without consent. In any case, a few lawsuits against Batali are still pending—a former Babbo pastry chef is suing him for discrimination, and a woman is suing him for (allegedly) having groped her in a Boston bar—and in August, the New York attorney general announced her investigation of Friedman and Batali's reported Spotted Pig misconduct.