Rocksalt chief Mark Sargeant accused of sexually assaulting American Airlines flight attendant

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Kentish celebrity chef Mark Sargeant said he was ‘deeply ashamed’ and apologized after an American Airlines flight attendant accused him of sexually assaulting her during the a work trip.

The owner of the Folkestone Rocksalt restaurant told KentOnline in a statement he apologized after “ misreading the situation ” and then also apologized to Kimberly Goesling, 52, of Texas, who said she was assaulted during a visit to Germany in 2018.

Mark Sargeant has been charged with sexual assault

But he said he had never admitted sexual assault and was ‘horrified’ that the allegations surfaced during legal proceedings between her and her bosses.

Mr Sargeant said he went to Ms Goesling’s bedroom under the false impression that she was interested in him while he was intoxicated.

He says he marked the successful end of a week with a festive drink with his team.

“I had also taken a sleeping pill in anticipation of going to bed. I am deeply ashamed of the way I behaved then, ”he continued.

“Drunk, I went to Mrs Goesling’s hotel room with the false impression that she was interested in me.

“I made it clear that I was interested in her, including trying to kiss her. Ms Goesling said she was flattered but was not interested.

Mr. Sargeant apologized for his actions.  Photo: Paul Amos
Mr. Sargeant apologized for his actions. Photo: Paul Amos

“Having completely misread the situation and after a short conversation in which I apologized, I left his room.

“Later I apologized again for my behavior and she said there was no reason for me to be embarrassed or ashamed.”

Mr Sargent says he reached an out-of-court settlement in 2020 to resolve the issue.

“While I do not recognize Ms. Goesling’s version of events, I wholeheartedly apologize for the indignity of my behavior that night, the dishonor to my wife and the disrespect to Ms. Goesling. Contrary to reports, I have never admitted to having sexual assault and I am horrified by these allegations, ”he added.

He entered Ms. Goesling's bedroom under the influence of sleeping pills and alcohol.  Photo: Wayne McCabe
He entered Ms. Goesling’s room under the influence of sleeping pills and alcohol. Photo: Wayne McCabe

“I was embarrassed and ashamed and I didn’t want my wife and family to find out either.

“The fact that alcohol mixed with prescription drugs influenced my behavior is no excuse.

“My family is my world and I will strive every day to regain their faith and confidence in me.”

Ms Goesling, who has worked for American Airlines for 30 years, went public with her allegations earlier this week, which were widely reported in media around the world. She is suing her employer for allegedly covering up her claims.

The incident happened while on a business trip in 2018. Stock photo
The incident happened while on a business trip in 2018. Stock photo

According to the Daily Mail, the airline said it severed ties with the chief following the allegations, but the prosecution says it has “ discouraged (Goesling) from continuing to report the incident. ”

Ms Goesling also spoke to NBC about the incident.

She said: “They dropped off my best friends. They reached out and dropped my ex-boyfriend off.

“I want an apology. I would like to sit down and talk to our leaders to find out what happened. What went wrong?”

Mr Sargeant, who worked alongside Gordon Ramsay, allegedly knocked on the door of Goesling’s hotel room in the early hours of the morning after allegedly sending inappropriate texts.

Rocksalt in the Fish Market, Folkestone.  Photo: Paul Amos
Rocksalt in the Fish Market, Folkestone. Photo: Paul Amos

Ms Goesling claims he then sexually assaulted her. Mr. Sargeant denies it.

Ms Goesling, who was in Germany to help the airline choose a new menu for international flights, told NBC: “It wasn’t like a light blow.

“It was (like) something was wrong, someone needed something. I remember going to the door and thinking, ‘Wow, it’s him!'”

“That’s when he forced his way into my room.”

Mr. Sargeant has not been criminally charged, Dallas News reports.

“I’m not Jane Doe. I’m Kimberly Goesling …

After filing her complaint anonymously, Ms Goesling has since decided to go public with her allegations.

She told former Fox host Gretchen Carlson: “At the end of the day, I’m not Jane Doe. I’m Kimberly Goesling.

“I’m done. I’m not going to hide from what happened anymore because I’m not the bad guy and I have nothing to hide. If anyone has to hide, it’s American and not me.”

American Airlines said, “We have an unwavering commitment to our team members and are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for everyone who works at our airline.

“Immediately after the incident was reported, we investigated and severed our business relationship with the accused.

“Because this matter involves an ongoing litigation, we are unable to comment further at this time other than to say that Ms. Goesling remains a valued member of our team.”

A lawsuit between the airline and Ms Goesling is scheduled for July; Americans are said to have asked for a delay.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone



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