Indian national Sumit Rastogi charged with over 100 sexual offences

Investigators believe 150 to 200 women could be identified from over 700 alleged indecent images discovered on his phone.

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A former massage therapist of Indian origin named Sumit Rastogi has been charged with over 100 sexual offences in Adelaide.

Prior to two women coming forward with sexual assault allegations, Rastogi, a 36-year-old Indian national, worked at 4Ever Massage in Glenelg, South Australia. However, in July 2022, he was arrested and charged with rape, two instances of indecent filming, and indecent assault.

More women came forward with allegations, leading to the police upgrading the charges.

Rastogi, who came to Australia on a Student visa in 2012, is facing three charges of rape, 57 charges of indecent assault, and 52 charges of indecent filming dating back to October 2021. According to a report, Rastogi’s lawyer has stated that his client would plead guilty to the summary offences, which include multiple indecent filming charges.

A request by the media resulted in the Magistrate revoking the suppression order that safeguarded Rastogi’s identity and workplace. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense lawyer opposed the request. However, after the initial reports of Rastogi’s arrest, four additional women accused him of indecent assault.

Investigators believe 150 to 200 women could be identified from over 700 alleged indecent images discovered on his phone. Rastogi declined to make any comments outside of the court. He is set to appear in court in June, where he is expected to deny the rape and indecent assault charges.

Sumit Rastogi’s lawyer said his client would admit to the summary offences involving several indecent filming charges.

“There is a substantial amount of charges. I’m in Your Honour’s hands as to whether the court receives the information signed by Mr Rastogi indicating which charges he pleads,” he was quoted as saying by ABC.

The revelation of Sumit Rastogi’s identity has shocked the local community, and many are now questioning how such a man was allowed to work in the industry for so long. The massage industry has been under scrutiny for several years, with reports of sexual misconduct and assault by therapists worldwide. In Australia, there have been calls for greater industry regulation to protect clients and ensure that only qualified and licensed therapists can practice.

South Australia’s Health Minister Stephen Wade said that the government is committed to preventing such incidents from happening again. “We need to make sure that anyone who works as a massage therapist has appropriate qualifications and training,” he said. “We also need to make sure that the regulatory system is working effectively to identify and deal with any misconduct or criminal behaviour.”

The case has also sparked a wider discussion about sexual violence in Australia, with many activists calling for more action to prevent violence against women.

Last month, a 38-year-old nurse and Indian National, Rajwinder Singh who fled Australia after allegedly killing an Australian woman in 2018, was charged after being extradited from India. Singh was charged with one count of murder by the police. Singh is accused of murdering Toyah Cordingley, a 24-year-old woman whose body was found on a beach by her father after she didn’t return home from walking her dog in October 2018.

Read More: Rape-accused Balesh Dhankhar takes the stand in Sydney court

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