Despite saying recently that she couldn't imagine dating again because it's the worst, Bethenny Frankel has moved on from the man who she is not in a relationship with any longer but lives in the same apartment with her and their daughter (complicated!). The only thing is, her new man was once accused of rape.
Frankel is dating Michael Cerussi III, a "New York financier" who is almost 10 years younger than her (Frankel is 43, Cerussi is reportedly 34). He currently works as a broker at the Maxim Group, but was previously at Convergex Execution Solutions and before that, part of Weeden and Co.
Cerussi comes from a long line of wealthy successful people. His father was a corporate trial lawyer also named Michael Cerussi from Connecticut; the older Cerussi died in 2011. Michael and his wife Kathryn, a one-time Glamour magazine executive, were once stopped on the street as part of New York magazine's Look Book, thus resulting in some speculation from Gawker staff about their sex life. As for Michael III and Bethenny, the pair spent New Year's Eve in Florida, sunning and funning themselves.
According to TMZ, Cerussi is displeased "that media outlets are sniffing around, accusing him of having committed a rape." He told TMZ that, desperate for a scoop, reporters have reached out to him to ask about a lawsuit he filed against a woman who accused him of rape when they were students at Union College.
"Claims were made to the school, which were false and unfounded and ultimately withdrawn," Cerussi said.
The lawsuit in question was filed in 2001. Cerussi claimed he was expelled in after Kathleen Schurick and Patricia G. Williams, Associate Deans of Students at UC, filed a report and led disciplinary hearings that ultimately led to him being found guilty of rape, though not in an official court of law, as no charges were ever filed with the police. In the suit filed, Cerussi alleged "that because he is male, Schurick and Williams discriminated against him and pre-determined his guilt...." He sued his accuser for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress and asked to be allowed back at Union College.
Cerussi alleged that the woman had sex with both him and his fraternity brother Frederik Bailey in November 2000 and that it was consensual. He said that the woman only called it rape and reported it to the school as such after she found out that others knew about her activities (the implication here seems to be that she was embarrassed). Cerussi and Bailey were suspended and subsequently expelled in December. A follow-up disciplinary hearing came later, though the expulsion was upheld. That's when Cerussi filed his suit.
Though the case made it to the New York State District Court far enough to be denied a transfer from Northern District Court (Cerussi wanted the case tried in Westchester), it seems like that's where it stopped. Reporters at the Daily Mail (and Radar Online), probably the people Cerussi was worried about by going to TMZ, found that the case was dismissed "with prejudice" in January 2003 "after numerous legal issues." Cerussi apparently completed his studies at the University of Connecticut.
Bethenny Frankel's new boyfriend: not a rapist, wants you to know that.
Image via MCCFL/Splash News