PROVO — Police have arrested a Provo restaurateur for the second time in roughly 24 hours after they say he posed as a doctor on Craigslist and sexually assaulted a second woman as part of a purported medical study.
The two women, who did not know each other, told police separately that they met with Borzin Mottaghian, 34, at an office in Provo after answering the online ad for paid medical research, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. His office is investigating the case because of an unspecified conflict with the Provo Police Department.
The allegations steming from incidents on Oct. 18 and 20 were "virtually identical," Cannon said. "We believe it's very likely that there may be more victims."
In his meeting with the woman on Oct. 20, the first to be reported to police, Mottaghian said he was taking measurements of women to use in product development of a new catheter, according to police, and had the woman sign paperwork including a "nondisclosure agreement" before proceeding with a physical exam, according to an affidavit filed in 4th District Court.
Mottaghian does not have any licensing that would allow for such an examination, according to the Division of Occupational Licensing.
During the exam, the woman told police, Mottaghian had her undress from the waist down and took photos of her, possibly with a cellphone. The woman reported that he used his hands and what appeared to be stainless steel instruments to examine and measure her.
The woman told police she never told Mottaghian to stop the purported exam, but told him "that she was uncomfortable and it was feeling very sexual in nature," the affidavit states. Mottaghian allegedly replied that it seemed that way because the examination included sexual organs.
Following the exam, investigators said the woman contacted police and went to a hospital for a sexual assault examination. The woman told a nurse "she went for a research study and by the time it was over she felt the suspect had violated her sexually" because of the things that were done, according to the affidavit.
A medical professional who consulted with investigators said the testing and measuring Mottaghian is accused of doing would not be necessary for any kind of catheter, the affidavit states.
Following the first report that came to police, an undercover detective arranged a meeting with Mottaghian. During the appointment, police say Mottaghian identified himself as a doctor and told the detective what the examination would include. No physical examination was done.
During the detective's appointment, investigators arrived to serve a search warrant, seizing examination gloves and the instruments allegedly used in the exam.
Mottaghian was booked into the Utah County Jail Wednesday for investigation of object rape and forcible sexual abuse. He posted $25,000 cash bail and was released, but was rebooked Thursday on suspicion of identical crimes at $250,000 cash bail after the second woman spoke with police. No charges have been filed.
Cannon noted that there is a chance that women who met with Mottaghian may not realize they have been victimized.
"Medical exams are inherently uncomfortable in some situations anyway, depending on the nature of the exam or the medical procedure. … But it went beyond what might be normally uncomfortable in all of these cases," Cannon said.
Investigators are reviewing evidence collected from the facility Mottaghian was using as an office in hopes of determining how long the operation may have been going on or how many women responded to the online ad, the sergeant said.
He called it "reprehensible" and "sickening" that someone responding in good faith to what they believe is a legitimate medical study could end up being victimized.4 comments on this story
Mottaghian is the owner of the Cocoa and Coffee Company drink shop and the Cafe On Fire Persian restaurant, both located in Provo, according the businesses' websites. Mottaghian identifies himself as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and says he earned a law degree from the University of California.
According to a bio on the Internet Movie Data Base website, Mottaghian played supporting roles in various movies and television episodes, and was the writer, producer and director for a short film titled "Blue Sweater."
Anyone who believes they may have been victimized is asked to contact Utah County sheriff's detectives at 801-851-4010 or Utah Valley Dispatch at 801-794-3970.
Contributing: Annie Knox