TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A plastic surgeon from Ohio has been accused of drugging and sexually abusing more than 20 women and recording the assaults, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
Manish Gupta, 49, of Sylvania, had an initial appearance in federal court Monday on charges of aggravated sexual abuse, sex trafficking and illegally dispensing controlled substances. Two of those charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Gupta waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and afterward his attorney declined to comment.
Court records don’t indicate whether any of the women were the doctor’s patients, but federal prosecutors described some as high-end escorts, including one woman he met while at a convention in Los Angeles in 2016. Gupta runs clinics in Ohio and Michigan.
Raids at his home and Toledo-area offices on Friday and searches of his devices turned up cameras, tripods, videos, and a large amount of drugs, including some that produce memory loss, the FBI said in a criminal complaint.
A prosecutor said during Monday’s hearing that so far investigators have identified more than 20 different victims who appeared unconscious on the recordings.
The FBI began investigating Gupta a year ago after a woman who works as an escort said she met the doctor at a Los Angeles hotel but remembered little after she had a glass of wine.
A home drug test showed she had a tranquilizer in her system, and she was examined at a rape treatment center but did not go to police, according to court records.
The woman said she also looked up Gupta on dating websites used by escorts and found multiple complaints about him, some from women who said he was “very dangerous” and that he drugged and raped them, according to the complaint.
Gupta runs two plastic surgery offices in the Toledo area and one in Taylor, Michigan, near Detroit.
Court records show some of his employees were suspicious well before the investigation began:
— In 2013, a woman called his office saying Gupta had drugged and raped her, according to the records. He told his employee that the woman was just trying to get money from him. Later, employees found a bag in the office filled with sex toys, empty anesthesia bottles and drugs.
— In 2014, another employee found memory cards with videos of Gupta having sex with women who appeared to be unconscious, according to the records. The employees became scared and didn’t know what to do. One employee later gave the thumb drives to the FBI.