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Man sexually assaulted during spa massage then blackmailed, police say

cbc.ca cbc.ca 20/06/2016 CBC News
The owner and an employee at Simi Magic Spa on St. Anne's Road are charged with extortion and numerous other offences. James Rinn/CBC © Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.htm... The owner and an employee at Simi Magic Spa on St. Anne's Road are charged with extortion and numerous other offences. James Rinn/CBC

The owner and employee of a Winnipeg beauty spa face extortion charges after a man says he was sexually assaulted, videotaped and threatened with the footage.

Police believe there are other victims as well and are urging them to come forward.

Simple Mehta, the owner of Simi Magic Spa on St. Anne's Road, is charged with extortion, procuring and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

The employee, Pam Sandu, 22, is charged with extortion, voyeurism, sexual assault and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Police say a 29-year-old man, who was in a business relationship with 39-year-old Mehta, went to the spa on a business matter and was offered a massage by an employee while he waited for Mehta.

Once he had prepared himself for the massage, the man was sexually assaulted and discovered he was being videotaped with a cellphone, police said.

"At this point the victim was extorted out of a sum of money with the threat that the video recording would be released," police said.

The man handed over "thousands" of dollars before going to police to report the incident, police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver said at a news conference.

Asked if the assault was actually a sexual favour the man had agreed to, Carver said it doesn't appear he was under the impression "he was getting anything other than a regular massage."

Carver also said police believe the man is likely not alone in being blackmailed in that way.

"It is our understanding that there's certainly a potential there are other victims, and if anyone feels they have any connection, we'd like them to come forward for sure," he said.

Asked if the police believe the incident was a "systemic" issue at Simi Magic Spa, Carver said "we believe that's the potential here, yes."

"We had received information that had put this business on our radar, but we hadn't been able to move forward prior to this," he said.

That "information" isn't restricted to sexual assault, he added, saying police are looking into the possibility "that other criminal activity may have been occurring at the business."

Mehta and Sandhu remain in police custody and more information on further charges could be released on Tuesday, police said.

Correction : The spa employee allegedly sexually assaulted the man who was blackmailed, police said. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version of this story.(Jun 20, 2016 1:29 PM)

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