Fayette County

Chef, owner of Kentucky BBQ restaurant cleared of 2018 sex abuse, other charge

Child sexual abuse statistics in the United States

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
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One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

A sex abuse charge against Willie Love Talley, chef and owner of Lexington’s Talley’s BBQ, has been dismissed while a jury cleared him of other wrongdoing following a 2018 arrest.

Talley, known locally as Chef Love Talley, was arrested in June on a charge of third-degree sexual abuse. He also was charged with being a sex offender who filmed or photographed a minor without consent.

Last month, a jury found Tally, 55, not guilty of the sex offender charge and a judge, about a week later, dismissed the sex abuse charge.

Talley is on the Kentucky sex offender registry because he was found guilty in 2003 of two counts of third-degree rape of a 15-year-old.

His attorney, Philip Kimball, said Talley had maintained his innocence of the latest charges he was fighting.

“He fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies and officers in their investigation of the charges against him,” Kimball said. “These charges against Chef Talley, other than his having kissed the alleged victim once, were the result of the alleged victim’s falsely attributing to Chef Talley certain conduct of her other acquaintances toward her of a sexual nature. The conduct was evidenced by the alleged victim’s massive electronic communications with her other acquaintances, for reasons known only to her. None of these communications incriminated Chef Talley.”

Talley’s BBQ, located on Boardwalk, remained open. He opened the restaurant in 2017 after he created a following with the business he ran out of a tent pop-up he started about 1998.

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