An “arrogant” restaurant owner believed his position allowed him to try it on with young women who were applying for jobs, a court heard.
Prashant Sengar (pictured), boss of the Spicy Affair in Victoria Terrace, Leamington, claimed that six woman who made complaints about him to the police were all lying.
But after hearing from his victims, most of whom did not know each other, a jury at Warwick Crown Court quickly found him guilty of seven charges of sexual assault.
The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report, and Sengar, aged 40, of Cornyx Lane, Solihull, was refused bail and remanded in custody.
Prosecutor Lee Marklew had told the jury: “A number of young women will be before you, telling you that Sengar is a man with wandering hands.
“He’s an arrogant man. He abused his position of authority with these ladies, knowing it was awkward for them to complain.”
Sengar’s first victim started work in 2012, and he soon made her feel uncomfortable by slapping her bottom as he went past her and looking at her “in a certain way’’ but at first she brushed it off, but in her first week he assaulted her ‘‘in a much more invasive way’’.
She refused Sengar’s sexual advances but he persisted, saying he had a wife but that she did not need to know.
She stuck at the job but while they were making a delivery, Sengar reached across, took hold of her face and forcibly tried to kiss her, telling her when she resisted that she could not want the job that much if that was her attitude.
Mr Marklew said: “Faced with his bullying, sexually invasive manner, she quit and reported it to the police.”
When he was arrested Sengar claimed she had lied and that she had and left for different reasons.
With one word against another, it was decided not to charge him, but he continued with his behaviour.
His next victims in 2013 were two friends who felt uneasy during the interview – he asked them “if they were single and were prepared to flirt and mess around”.
When alone with one he took hold of her knee and asked if she would be interested in modelling for him.
When she froze, Sengar told her to go upstairs and to ask her friend to come down - and he then tried it on with her, putting his hand on her thigh and leaning in to try to kiss her.
They contacted police and when arrested Sengar claimed he may have patted the first girl’s knee, but that there was nothing sexual, and denied anything at all had happened with her friend.
But although an officer made the connection with Sengar’s first victim, the Crown Prosecution Service still decided to take no action.
Later that year a young woman responded to an advert for dancers which had been placed by an agency called Lumos Events, another company Sengar had an interest in.
He arranged to interview her at an hotel, but when he met her in the bar and asked her to follow him to a room he had paid for, she immediately had ‘‘a bad vibe and thought it all seemed very sleezy.’’
Sengar asked her to sign a contract without seeing her dance and when she tried to leave, he grabbed her top and looked down it at her breasts, and she later said she believed he had been using the ‘‘audition’’ to get sexual favours.
Sengar went back to the restaurant where he interviewed another young woman who had applied for a job, but she quit after a few days when he began patting her bottom.
The day before she walked out, Sengar had interviewed another young woman and told her the pay was not just for restaurant work, but for ‘‘playing and flirting’’ as he rubbed his hand on her thigh and bottom.
And he threatened that if she did not comply, he would tell the benefit authorities that she had walked out.
She reported it to police and Det Con Tim O’Mahoney, who had been ‘‘watching’’ Sengar, found documents at the restaurant through which he was able to trace other victims, including the dancer.