An amateur photographer who authorities allege lured his victims by promising them jobs as models in high-end magazines has been charged with raping three women during photo shoots over the past eight years, prosecutors say.
Michael Scott of Burnsville, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with a single count of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault related to the attacks. It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether Scott was in custody.
Authorities said that the “self-taught” photographer ran studios under various names — Totally Blind Photography, American Standard Studios, Misha Photography, Mikal Roberts Studios 08 and Mikal Roberts Photography — while employing several aliases. The 54-year-old Scott, they say, committed at least three rapes between July 2008 and July 2014, all under the guise of helping aspiring models advance their careers. At least two of the victims said that he had touted his connections to such well-known publications as Playboy and Maxim in convincing them to hire him.
In all of the incidents, the victims were attacked during photo shoots at studios or in hotel rooms, the complaint said, after Scott had plied them with alcohol and offered a massage to help them “get in the mood,” as one woman recounted to investigators.
In that episode, which allegedly occurred on July 31, 2008, Scott invited the 20-year-old woman to a studio, telling her his name was Mikal Roberts, and straddled her as she lay posing for a photo before sexually assaulting her, the complaint said. The victim later told police that she had been to the studio several times before, but that outside of a few suggestive comments, Scott had never previously made any unwanted sexual advances, according to authorities. She said Scott had insisted that, given his connections, “the photographs would have the potential to be published in Playboy,” the complaint read.
In another instance, a woman says she agreed to meet Scott at a restaurant in St. Louis Park on July 23, 2014, to discuss the fact that the victim’s boyfriend was upset that she was modeling for Scott, authorities said. After having several drinks, the two walked to Scott’s car at a nearby parking garage, where the attack allegedly occurred, authorities said. The victim would later tell police that she felt like a “limp, useless thing,” throughout the alleged attack, as she drifted in and out of consciousness.
The following December, a 20-year-old woman walked into the Golden Valley Police Department headquarters with her father to report that she had been raped by a man calling himself “Ricky,” whom she had met through the popular online marketplace Craigslist, according to authorities.
After several photo shoots, the suspect convinced her to meet him at the Super 8 motel in Golden Valley on Nov. 13 for a photo shoot for Maxim magazine, the complaint read. The man reportedly left her alone in the motel room for several hours, during which she poured herself a glass of vodka from a bottle that he had brought earlier that night. She said that she blacked out briefly, and when she came to, the suspect, later identified as Scott, was raping her, the charges said.
Scott has no prior serious convictions, according to online court records.