Cops say a man sexually assaulted women he recruited on Craigslist for a fake medical study
Connecticut man charged Recruit women for a mock medical study He sexually assaulted them during the sessions he recorded and turned himself in to police, according to state authorities.
Brian Casella, a 35-year-old business owner, recruited the women in several ways, including through online Craigslist ads for the purported medical study, court documents say.
On August 26, a woman who works for Casella — Vivid Events, which provides event services — reported Casella is accused of sexually assaulting her to state police, according to an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant.
The woman told a detective that after her food allergies 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, which it says was being conducted for a company he worked for. No name provided.
Casella had the woman fill out a comprehensive questionnaire, then performed several “tests,” during which she was partially naked, to listen to her abdomen, the affidavit says.
After the tests, which included Casella touching her with medical instruments and his hands, he would pay her in cash, according to the state police investigator who interviewed the woman.
According to the woman, the tests became more “intrusive” over time, the affidavit says. During the last hearing, on August 6, Casella was accused of touching her genitals without her permission.
A few weeks after the woman’s report, during a search warrant, authorities found a hard drive in Casella’s truck containing more than 1,000 photos and videos of several other victims, the affidavit says.
On Nov. 17, Casella, of Bethel, turned himself in on an active warrant charging him Fourth-degree sexual assaultauthorities said in a news release that day.
State Police are now working to identify more sexual assault victims seen in recordings and photos found on Casella’s hard drive, state police wrote in an alert.
“Brian Casella allegedly lured female victims into a fake medical study, with Casella using various tools as well as his hands and ears to manipulate and listen to their stomachs,” state police said.
Mark Sherman, a Fairfield County criminal defense attorney in Casella, told McClatchy News in a statement on Nov. 20 that it was too early to discuss details of the case.
However, Sherman said the case is “complex” and Casella is “prepared to work through the court process in a manner that is fair and sensitive to all parties involved.”
Sleeping pills and zip ties
According to the affidavit, Casella conducted the fake medical sessions with his employee within Vivid Events for approximately one year.
Casella is accused of mounting a camera with a tripod for each session, which would end with Casella paying the woman cash, the affidavit says.
Finally, he asked her if she was interested in participating in a “larger study” and that she would need to take sleeping pills, according to the affidavit.
In the first session of the “larger study,” the woman took one sleeping pill even though the dose was two pills, the affidavit says.
“(She) stated that she did not take the second pill because she was afraid something would happen if she fell asleep, and things were not right for her,” the affidavit states.
The woman put on nursing clothes at Casella’s request, but when he wanted her to be fully exposed from above, she refused and “asked if she could put tape over her nipples, which she then did in order to” preserve some of her dignity. “He pretended to be asleep,” the affidavit says.
During other sessions, Casella was accused of zip-tying the woman to keep her still 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’s interview with the investigator
On September 14, after the woman reported Casella to police, authorities executed a search warrant at Vivid Events and found “sheets, ultrasound machine, scrubs, electrical stimulation machines, microphones, stethoscopes, and ultrasound gel” inside a locked attic area . The affidavit says.
That day, Casella said in an interview with a detective that he had performed fake medical exams on women for years to “satisfy a fetish,” according to the affidavit, which says Casella explained he had a “belly fetish.”
He told the detective there were “a lot” of victims he had recorded and he would “always” pay them for their participation, according to the affidavit.
The hard drive found during the search warrant contained 265 photos and videos of his employee, including photos of her “mostly exposed” and some showing her bound with zip ties, according to the affidavit.
“If you recognize Casella and feel you are a victim, please contact Detective Barbero at (860) 904-0493,” State Police said.
Casella is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29 after posting $10,000 bail, according to police.
Bethel is located about 55 miles southwest of Hartford.