After less than four hours of deliberation, a jury found a former Provo restauranteur guilty of raping two women while posing as a medical professional conducting anatomy research.
Borzin Mottaghian, 36, was found guilty on Friday of two counts of object rape, both first-degree felonies carrying a minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
He was also convicted of two counts of forcible sexual abuse, both second-degree felonies carrying a minimum 1 to 15 years in prison; two counts of sexual battery, class A misdemeanors; and two counts of attempted sexual battery, class B misdemeanors.
“We’re pleased that after two long years the victims were able to see some justice,” said Utah County Deputy Attorney Carl Hollan after the verdict.
The sentencing is scheduled in 4th District Court for Feb. 4.
Mottaghian, who had been in custody through a GPS ankle monitor, was handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom to await sentencing at the Utah County Jail.
He was charged with pretending to be a medical examiner conducting “anatomy research” on women at an office in Provo. However, he did not have any medical certification and raped two women who agreed to help with the research study in October 2017.
His defense attorney Scott Williams argued since the women responded to the Craigslist ad asking for volunteers for medical purposes, what happened in the Provo office was consensual.
“It’s not rape if you don’t ask someone to stop,” he said to the jury. “You’ve got to communicate your lack of consent otherwise how would someone know it?”
But Hollan and Utah County Deputy Attorney Julia Thomas argued the deception and lies led both women to believe he was a legitimate doctor and ran an authentic company to conduct the research.
After meeting the women during separate appointments, Mottaghian had both women undress and raped and sexually abused them under the pretense of an examination.
“You’ve seen, unraveled, the defendant’s lies. You’ve seen the truth behind it,” Hollan told the jury on Friday. “The core issue, aside from everything else, is that he manipulated women into trusting him because he conned them into believing he was a doctor.”
The women wept and hugged family members and friends after the conviction.
“It’s always hard for the victims because they feel like this is a personal judgment on them. That’s one of the hardest things about these cases,” Hollan said. “Obviously this does not make them whole. But it’s a small step in the right direction.”