The operator of a Burnaby skincare clinic has been charged with two counts of sexual assault with a weapon for allegedly assaulting clients during treatments.
Farshad Khojsteh Kashani of Fab Skin Care at 5481 Kingsway had the charges laid against him on March 14, and Burnaby RCMP announced it to the public on Thursday.
The investigation began in 2019 when one victim came forward and said she was sexually assaulted during a treatment. Police say a second victim came forward in 2021, and the force’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offence Unit gathered additional evidence.
Police didn’t say whether the second victim was a minor.
“We are grateful to the two women who came forward to police, but our investigators haven’t ruled out that there could be other people with information who we have not yet heard from,” Cpl. Michelle Hurtubise said in a news release. “We are appealing for anyone else with information to contact our investigators.”
Fraser Health is also advising anyone who received high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) vaginal tightening treatments at Fab Skin Care to get tested for STIs immediately.
“Fraser Health was made aware that this business was not providing these services through a registered health professional and was not using appropriate infection control measures while providing these services,” the health authority said in a news release.
Only certain registered health professions may perform services involving exams or devices that go inside the vagina, Fraser Health said.
Inspectors with Fraser Health visited Fab Skin Care in January and told Kashani that HIFU and HIFU vaginal rejuvenation is not an approved service. The ultrasound machine was removed from the facility, and inspectors mandated the clinic remove advertisements for the service, according to the inspection report.
The inspectors noted that Kashani would not hand over his client list on his lawyer’s advice, and said the list had already been provided to RCMP.
Daily Hive has reached out to Kashani for comment, but has not heard back.
HIFU vaginal rejuvenation was sold by Fab Skin Care as a way to non-surgically tighten the vagina, but the treatment has been condemned by the US Food and Drug Administration for deceptive marketing.
Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb issued a statement in 2018 saying there’s no evidence to indicate ultrasound “vaginal rejuvenation” is effective — and in fact it’s dangerous.
Although HIFU machines are approved for a narrow scope of use (destruction of abnormal or pre-cancerous cervical tissue or zapping genital warts), the machine’s safety hasn’t been evaluated for treating symptoms related to menopause and sexual function.
The procedure carries serious risks including vaginal burns, scarring, and recurring chronic pain.
“The deceptive marketing of a dangerous procedure with no proven benefit, including to women who’ve been treated for [breast] cancer, is egregious,” Gottleib wrote.
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Fab Skin Care’s website says it’s down for maintenance, and its Groupon deals have been removed from the site. Reviews of the clinic on third-party sites suggest it offered body slimming, laser, and other services.
The clinic was briefly ordered closed by Fraser Health in January 2019 because it was advertising IPL laser hair removal services which it was not licensed for. The closure order was rescinded in February 2019 after the business removed “laser” from its front door and directory and took laser machines out of treatment rooms.
But again in September 2021, another inspector found the clinic was using a high heat skin tag removal machine it was not licensed for.
The director of the Canadian Association of Medical Spas and Aesthetic Surgeons, Dariush Honardoust, confirmed that Kashani took courses from the BC Academy of Medical Aesthetics and Skin Care in 2015 and 2016, but said Kashani hasn’t renewed his CAMACS membership since 2016.
This is the second male aesthetician in Metro Vancouver to be charged with sexual assault of a client this year. Back in January, Vancouver police announced Ali Aghasardar of Dermabella Clinic was charged with sexual assault and voyeurism. In addition to allegedly assaulting at least one client, he allegedly took nude photos of patients during appointments.