Gareth Raphael, a Toronto hairdresser has been charged with 16 counts of sexual assault after more than a dozen alleged victims came forward. Raphael, whose clients included high-profile city officials, including elected members of Toronto’s Liberal and Conservative parties, was arrested on Friday. His charges include six counts of sexual assault, nine counts of sexual interference and one count of invitation to sexual touching.
Raphael was barred from the city’s social and fundraising scene after police opened an investigation in September. He surrendered to police on Friday and was originally charged with 10 counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and three counts of invitation to sexual touching.
Toronto Mayor John Tory was one of Raphael’s clients, but told CBC News that it was “not the mayor’s policy to comment on the matters that police are investigating or charging people with.” He acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations and said, “I hope that we never see a repeat of this and I hope our city is one that understands that just because it may not have happened here doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be speaking out against any form of sexual assault or sexual misconduct.”
Raphael appeared in court on Friday and had his bail conditions reviewed by a judge. Police allege that the salon owner assaulted his alleged victims between 1989 and 2002. Police believe there are additional victims and are asking anyone with information to contact the CPS tip line at 416-808-4200 or reach out online at police.on.ca.
Lloyd Axworthy, the former Prime Minister of Canada, is among those to have become clients of Raphael. The Toronto Star reports that he is friends with several men who have said they were victims of Raphael. The Star alleges that staff at a popular location of the salon made recommendations, often taking him out of the chair and into his private bathroom, to engage in sexual activities. A question-and-answer website about the salon on the shop’s website confirms “clients … experiencing a sexually pleasurable experience during their visit and/or after their hair cut.”
Read the full story at Global News.
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