Matthew Tivy, the chef behind the Cafe Du Soleil who appeared on the Food Network's "Chef du Jour," is facing a $10 million lawsuit from the family of a teenage boy whom he allegedly sexually assaulted.
This comes six months after Tivy was held without bail for allegedly distributing child pornography and sexually abusing an underage teen. Though details of the two cases are similar, it's not confirmed that this suit was brought by the same individual, and the lawsuit alleges that Tivy had similar relations with a number of minors. He is reportedly no longer affiliated with the Upper West Side restaurant.
According to the suit filed yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court, Tivy, 54, met the boy (identified as P.H.) on Grindr when P.H. was 14 or 15 years old. They exchanged nude photos, and eventually met in person, at which point P.H. told Tivy that he was underage, according to the suit. In response, Tivy allegedly told P.H., "I messed with guys your age before."
Grindr does have an age restriction of 18 years, but, like many dating apps, has a number of underage users. Last year a New Jersey judge ruled that the app was not liable after a man attempted to hold Grindr responsible for his arrest and prosecution for statutory rape.
On December 30th, 2014, the two met in the Bronx, where Tivy sexually assaulted him, according to the prosecution. That encounter was allegedly videotaped. The suit states that Tivy later suggested that they have a threesome, and said that they should go to New Jersey when P.H. turned 16, as the age of consent there is 16, as opposed to 17 in New York.
P.H. was compliant in his sexual activity with Tivy, the suit says, but could not consent because of his age, and later suffered psychological trauma in addition to physical injuries. As a result, both he and his father are in therapy, according to the suit.
Tivy identified himself to P.H. only as "Matt," and the teen didn't learn more about his identity until he was contacted by FBI agents who were investigating Tivy for distributing pornographic images and videos of teenagers from New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida.
When Tivy was arrested on those charges last year, prosecutors found evidence that he had distributed images of 14, 15, and 16-year-old boys to users on the messaging app Kik. Tivy was arrested last May, but allegedly continued to discuss his exploits with minors on the website Chaturbate in July.
After his arrest last year, Tivy's lawyer, Glenn Hardy, said that his client was innocent, but that his explicit texts and videos were "something we have to investigate. He has no obligation to explain to me or the government what they're about, but that's something Matthew and I are going to work on."
Hardy is not representing Tivy in this case, and court records show that he has not yet been assigned an attorney.