A Connecticut man is accused of hiring women for a fake medical study and then sexually assaulting them during sessions he recorded, according to state authorities.
Brian Casella, a 35-year-old business owner, recruited the women in a few ways, including through online Craigslist advertisements for the purported medical study, court documents say.
On Aug. 26, a woman who worked for Casella’s business — Vivid Events, which provides event services – reported accusations of Casella sexually assaulting her to state police, according to an affidavit in support of an arrest warrant.
Casella Told the Woman He was Recruiting Her for a Study Related to Her Digestive Problems
The woman told a detective that after her food sensitivities came up in a conversation with Casella, he recruited her to participate in a paid medical study related to her digestive system, according to the affidavit.
Casella had the woman fill out an extensive questionnaire, then conducted several “tests,” during which she was partly unclothed, to listen to her abdomen, according to the woman, the affidavit says.
After the tests, which involved Casella touching her with medical tools and his hands, he’d pay her in cash, according to the state police detective who interviewed the woman.
According to the woman, the tests became more “intrusive” as time went on, the affidavit says. During the last session, on Aug. 6, Casella is accused of touching her genital area without her permission.
Investigators Found Hard Drive in Casella’s Truck with 1,000 More Videos, Photos of Many Other Victims
A few weeks after the woman’s report, during a search warrant, authorities found a hard drive in Casella’s truck that had over 1,000 photos and videos of several more victims, the affidavit says.
On Nov. 17, Casella, of Bethel, turned himself in on an active arrest warrant charging him with fourth-degree sexual assault, authorities said in a news release that day.
Now state police are working to identify additional sexual assault victims who were seen in the recordings and photos on Casella’s hard drive, state police wrote in an alert.
“Brian Casella is alleged to have solicited female victims for a fake medical study, in which Casella would use various instruments as well as his own hands and ears to manipulate and listen to their abdomens,” state police said.
Casella Used Sleeping Pills, Zipties
According to the affidavit, Casella conducted the fake medical sessions with his employee inside of Vivid Events for about a year. He is accused of setting up a camera with a tripod for each session, which would end with Casella paying the woman in cash, the affidavit says.
Eventually, he asked her if she was interested in participating in a “bigger study” and that she’d need to take sleeping pills, according to the affidavit. For the first session of the “bigger study,” the woman took one sleeping pill despite the dosage being two pills, the affidavit says.
“(She) stated that she did not take the second pill because she was afraid if she fell asleep something would happen, and things did not feel right to her,” according to the affidavit.
The woman wore nursing scrubs as requested by Casella, but when he wanted her to be fully exposed up top, she declined and “asked if she could place tape over her nipples, which she then did in order to ‘preserve some of her dignity,'” and pretended to be asleep, the affidavit says.
During other sessions, Casella is accused of zip-tying the woman to keep her stabilized and touching her underwear and genital area, the affidavit says. Despite the woman’s repeated requests to end the sessions, Casella insisted on continuing, according to the affidavit.
Casella Admitted He Had an ‘Abdominal Fetish’
On Sept. 14, after the woman reported Casella to police, authorities executed a search warrant at Vivid Events and found “sheets, an ultrasound machine, scrubs, electrical stimulation machines, microphones, stethoscopes, and jelly” for ultrasounds inside a padlocked attic area, the affidavit says.
That day, Casella said in an interview with the detective that he’s conducted fake medical examinations of women for years to “satisfy a fetish,” according to the affidavit, which says Casella explained he has an “abdominal fetish.”