Jan 21, 2020

Naturopath who claimed 'quasi-divine' powers on trial for sex assaults

Nicolas Agapiadis, a naturopath and restauranteur accused of sexually assaulting two women in his Old Montreal office, at Montreal's Palais de Justice Jan. 7, 2020.
The Montreal restaurant owner is accused of assaulting women during treatment sessions and telling them they needed to cooperate if they wanted to heal.

January 18, 2020

Warning: The testimony quoted in this story contains explicit details.

A Montreal naturopath who made claims of having what a judge described as “quasi-divine” powers is on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting two women during treatment sessions.

Nicolas Agapiadis, 56, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault. Both assaults are alleged to have taken place in his office above the Old Montreal restaurant he owned.

The complainants in the case were 19 and 31 years old at the time. One was an employee at his restaurant while the other was an acquaintance.

According to evidence presented during his trial, Agapiadis is alleged to have used his position as a naturopath to commit the assaults.

In both instances, the Crown contends he assaulted the women on the massage table during treatment sessions and that when they urged him to stop, he told them they needed to cooperate if they wanted to heal.

Agapiadis’s trial began last month at the Montreal courthouse and will resume in February. He has not yet presented a defence.

After closing its evidence, the Crown applied to have the two cases accepted as “similar fact evidence.” The legal principle allows the similarities between the cases to be considered by the judge and can bolster each complainant’s credibility.

Quebec Court Judge Dennis Galiatsatos granted the application in late December, listing 17 parallels between the two women’s accounts.

Among them were Agapiadis’s claim to be able to “read” people’s energy by observing them and that he told both women their ailments were the result of “bad sperm” while he had “good sperm.”

“It seems highly improbable that these collusion-free allegations against this same accused could be attributed to coincidence,” Galiatsatos wrote in his decision. “The parallels in the accounts of both women are striking.”

Both of the complainants’ names and any details that could identify them are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

In one case, the 19-year-old complainant met Agapiadis when she was hired at his restaurant in June 2014.

According to a summary of the Crown’s evidence detailed in Galiatsatos’s judgment, Agapiadis told the complainant he was a naturopath after her first shift at the restaurant. He offered his services for free.

She didn’t know what a naturopath was at the time, she told the court.

During her first session, the complainant says, Agapiadis repeatedly told her to relax and she was “doing great” while he did increasingly inappropriate massages on a table.

She said despite her telling him she was uncomfortable on several occasions, the touching escalated to putting his hands under her shirt and inside her bra, telling her he was looking for her “chakras” or energy centres. He also put his hand inside her underwear.

He explained his theory she had received “bad sperm” and women need “good sperm” to obtain good proteins for their brains.

At one point in the session, the decision says, he suddenly jumped on top of the woman.

“Very quickly, he sat on her thighs, pinning down her legs and pulling down her panties,” Galiatsatos writes in his decision. “He warned that he was going to give her treatment and that she had to cooperate in order to get better.”

Agapiadis stopped when his son knocked at the door, the decision says. The complainant felt frozen and unable to move. She called her roommate to tell him “something bad had happened” and left the building in tears.

The other complainant was 31 years old and planning to have a child with her boyfriend when she met Agapiadis in 2015.

She was stressed and worried about her menstrual cycle being irregular. Agapiadis told her he could help.

He told the woman her “magnet was broken” and that she had too much acid build-up before again explaining his “good sperm” theory, the judgment says.

Agapiadis had “read” her boyfriend by looking at him, he told the woman, and could tell her boyfriend would not be able to get her pregnant. If he did, there would be the heightened chances of a miscarriage or sick child.

The Crown contends during one meeting in his office, Agapiadis picked the complainant up and placed her on the massage table before sexually assaulting her.

The woman “anticipated that he would try to penetrate her,” the decision says. “She voiced, ‘don’t do that’. The accused responded by whispering if she wanted to heal, she needed to comply.”

Agapiadis’s lawyer, George Calaritis, refused to comment on this article since the trial is continuing. He would not confirm whether his client intends on presenting a defence.

Galiatsatos notes in his judgment it can be inferred that, based on questions in cross-examination, Agapiadis might argue the 19-year-old woman fabricated the allegations because she was dissatisfied with her work schedule.

The judgment says it appears he will also argue the other complainant forced him to have sex with her to get pregnant.

The trial resumes Feb. 10.



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