A contestant on this year’s series of MasterChef, who suddenly disappeared from the show without explanation, has been charged with sexual assault.
Thirty-six-year old Queensland cook Ben Ungermann has been charged by Victorian Police with two counts of sexual assault allegedly committed against a 16-year-old girl in Melbourne’s Docklands in February.
The current series, MasterChef: Back To Win, is filmed in Melbourne. Ungermann was runner-up in season nine in 2017, losing to eventual winner Diana Chan. He currently works as a chef at the Woodlands of Marburg in Queensland.
Ungermann’s lawyer, Adam Houda, has “vehemently denied” the charges against his client, labelling them a “complete fabrication”.
B&T has contacted Network 10 for comment.
The reality TV contestant suddenly disappeared from this year’s series with no explanation from the producers, Endemol Shine, or Network 10, leaving viewers puzzled about his sudden departure.
On Sunday night’s episode, MasterChef host Jock Zonfrillo told the other contestants that Ungermann had left due to a “personal matter”.
“Ben has had to leave the competition and he will not be returning,” Zonfrillo said.
Yesterday, charges were laid by the Melbourne Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team and followed an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on February 23 in Docklands, in the city’s inner-west.
A police spokesperson said: “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.”
A spokeswoman from production company Endemol Shine Australia said in a statement to media: “We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment”.
Ungermann’s lawyer, Adam Houda, telling News.com.au: “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.”
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