A Twin Cities hairdresser has been charged with sexually assaulting two of his onetime co-workers.
Leslie D. Richards, 32, of Mound, is scheduled to appear in Hennepin County District Court on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with one assault in May 2018 and another in July 2019.
Both criminal complaints include Richards telling police that the encounters were consensual.
Richards, who was booked, jailed and later released, is due back in court on April 23. Messages were left with him Monday seeking his response to the allegations, and his attorney declined to comment.
Richards was renting space starting in late August 2019 until this past Friday at Salon Concepts in Edina, said an attorney for the nationwide company based in Ohio. Attorney Theresa Nelson said Richards moved into his spot in late August and was removed Friday, the same day as his arrest.
Two weeks earlier, Richards said on Facebook that his services were put on hold when the state ordered beauty salons and similar businesses to close last month in response to the coronavirus,
State records show Richards has been licensed to work on hair, skin and nails since 2017. His license remains active and he has had no disciplinary actions taken against him, the state Board of Cosmetology website shows.
According to the charges:
A woman went to police in August 2019 to report that Richards lured her to his St. Louis Park apartment in May 2018, when both worked at Spalon Montage in Edina.
She said Richards told her he wanted talk about their challenges with alcohol. She said Richards pushed her into a bedroom and raped her.
The woman confided within a week of the assault in a text message to a friend.
She said she eventually went to police "because she heard that he had done this to other people as well," the complaint continued.
The St. Louis Park case led investigators to another allegation against Richards by a colleague at the time, this one involving an encounter in Sola Salon in Eden Prairie on July 6, 2019.
The woman told police: Richards entered the room she rented as a makeup artist, shut the door and drew the blinds. He said he was going to give her a massage, which she declined. He grabbed her sexually and sexually assaulted her.