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Star UWS Chef Preyed on Underage Teen Boys for Sex, FBI Says

By Emily Frost | October 9, 2015 3:43pm | Updated on October 12, 2015 8:57am
 Matthew Tivy opened Cafe du Soleil on Broadway at West 104th Street in 2005. He is charged with distributing videos of him having sex with a minor.
Matthew Tivy opened Cafe du Soleil on Broadway at West 104th Street in 2005. He is charged with distributing videos of him having sex with a minor.
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MANHATTAN — An Upper West Side chef was arrested and charged Thursday for having sex with a teen boy and sharing videos of their encounter online, the FBI said.

Regular Food Network guest Matthew Tivy, 53, head chef and owner of the French bistro Cafe du Soleil at 2723 Broadway, was charged with sexually exploiting a minor for the purpose of distributing child pornography after having sex with a teen boy in The Bronx in 2014, federal officials said.

The NYPD initially arrested and charged Tivy for having sex with a 16-year-old boy in Manhattan sometime between Feb.1 and May 6 this year. He was charged with third-degree criminal sexual act, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse of a child on May 6, according to the criminal complaint, and released on $25,000 bail. 

Using a search warrant to examine Tivy's phone stemming from the May 6 arrest, FBI officials were able to build a larger case and charge him for alleged crimes that occurred earlier. 

The FBI discovered that Tivy found this first victim, a 14- or 15-year-old boy, using the hookup app Grindr and began exchanging messages with the victim on Dec. 28, 2014, according to a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan Federal Court.

He arranged to meet the victim, a Bronx high school student, in his car on the top floor of a Best Buy parking lot in The Bronx on December 30, 2014. Shortly after theiur encounter, Tivy texted the victim "That was really fun... even though you were very bad not to tell me how young you are haha but I don't mind," according to the complaint.

The victim texted back: "Oh I thought I told you."

Tivy followed up by texting: "I've been with a high school guy before so it's cool."

The next day, Tivy texted the victim asking him to send him a video of their encounter and also sent a series of sexually explicit text messages. 

The victim sent two videos, both of which depict the two having sex, the complaint said. 

Tivy then chatted with another user on the messaging app KIK and sent the user the videos via Dropbox, the complaint said.

FBI officials believe there are at least five other underage victims from around the country with whom Tivy lured to either have sex or to share sexually explicit video and photos of themselves that he then distributed online. 

“As alleged, Matthew Tivy took advantage of a minor for his own sexual gratification, even when he knew the minor was only in high school. He then allegedly shared the video he recorded of his encounter with others," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.

Tivy is currently being held without bail, reports said. His lawyer did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years and 20 years, respectively.

Tivy opened Cafe du Soleil in 2005, and the restaurant has been popular with locals and has participated for years in the annual foodie festival New Taste of the Upper West Side.

The FBI believes there may be more victims and encourages anyone with information to call the FBI at 212-384-1000 or to visit its tips site.