CALGARY — A prominent Calgary chef and restaurant owner has been charged with sexual assault.
Police allege a man followed an employee into a bathroom during a social gathering in January in downtown Calgary.
It’s alleged the man cornered the woman in a stall and sexually assaulted her. Police said the woman pushed the man away and left the bathroom.
Michael John Noble, who is 56, has been charged with sexual assault. Police confirm Noble is the same man who runs well-known Calgary restaurants The Nash and Notable.
Noble’s lawyer, Balfour Der, said his client is troubled by the allegations and plans to plead not guilty. Noble found out about the charge within the last day or so.
“He’s a prominent member of this community and has done an awful lot here over the years, so something like this can have real effects on his business, the employees, his family,” said Der.
“You can be assured that this charge will be defended vigorously.”
Staff Sgt. Tom Hanson told a news conference the complainant came forward not long after the alleged assault occurred.
He added it’s difficult for someone to come forward and make sexual assault allegations.
“People have to work through all sorts of emotional trauma to get the courage to come forward and report situations like this to the police or to any other person that they trust.”
Der said it’s concerning police held a news conference about the charge against Noble, when they don’t normally do so in sexual assault cases. He said he can’t think of any other reason for that than Noble’s profile in Calgary.
“It’s clearly dragging his name through the mud.”