Manhattan chef and television personality Matthew Tivy was held without bail on Thursday after he was charged with having sex with several minors, including a 15-year-old New Jersey boy and a Bronx teen, all the while allegedly videotaping the illicit encounters.
Tivy, 54, who owns the Upper West Side restaurant Café du Soleil, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and having child pornography by federal prosecutors.
Tivy was first arrested by the NYPD in May and charged with several offenses, including third-degree sexual abuse, on charges of having sex with a 16-year-old boy. Officials recovered Tivy’s phone and turned it over to the FBI, according to the criminal complaint. Federal investigators used the phone to identify additional victims.
Tivy, known for appearing on the Food Network show “Chef du Jour,” continued to brag about his sexual experiences with minors and contact potential new victims about two months after he was arrested by the NYPD on May 7 — and released on $25,000 bail — according to the federal complaint.
“It appears that the conduct that gave rise to these charges has been, and is, continuing,” said United States Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman during Tivy’s arraignment Thursday afternoon as he explained why he was denying bail. “The principal issue here is risk of danger to the community, rather than the risk of non-appearance.”
His attorney, Glenn Hardy, said Tivy has lived in the city for 31 years. He said Tivy has started two kinds of therapy, including a group that meets weekly, adding that Tivy “certainly understood the gravity of the situation.” He said Tivy’s husband lives in the city as well.
“He basically said the two most important words: not guilty,” Hardy said. “And now it’s up to the U.S. Attorney to prove their case.”
In the latest charges, Tivy is accused of first texting a Bronx teen, whose Grindr photo was in Tivy’s phone, on Dec. 28, 2014. Two days later, Tivy allegedly met the boy on the top floor of a Bronx Best Buy parking lot — which Tivy said would be good for privacy.
“That was really fun,” Tivy texted the boy after the videotaped encounter, according to the court records. “Even though you were very bad not to tell me how young you are haha but I don’t mind … I’ve been with a high school guy before so it’s cool.”
The next day, Tivy asked the boy to send him two videos, calling one “hot,” and adding they needed a “real cameraman to get some better videos for next time,” according to the complaint. Prosecutors say Tivy then texted the teen, a junior in high school, a few days later, asking to meet again.
A search of Tivy’s apartment during his arrest at 6 a.m. on Thursday revealed the shirt he was wearing in the video he shot with the teen, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jilan Kamal said.
Tivy then bragged about his exploits on another social media site, Kik, according to court records.
On that site, Tivy also allegedly shared photos of a naked 15-year-old boy from New Jersey, boasting he had sex with the teen when he was only 14. Not stopping there, prosecutors say Tivy exchanged videos with a 16-year-old Florida boy, sending him a video of a Miami-based 14-year-old boy masturbating. He is also accused of distributing several other photos, including naked pictures of a boy from southern Ohio.
Tivy is also accused of having several social media accounts, including one with the username “iluvundies.”
On Thursday, a woman who only identified herself as a family member walked into court toward the end of the hearing. “I’m here,” she told Tivy. “I love you.”
Tivy then replied: “I love you, too.”
The woman declined to speak with a reporter.
Tivy’s next court appearance with Manhattan prosecutors is scheduled for Nov. 23. His next appearance in federal court is scheduled for Nov. 9.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the story listed Tokyo Pop as one of Tivy’s restaurants, but that restaurant is now closed.
-With Jason Shaltiel