EDMONTON — An Edmonton man who worked in the city's bar scene is accused of attacking 17 young women, including 15 charges of sexual assault.
In August, police charged Matthew McKnight, 29, with sexual assault causing bodily harm, two counts of sexual assault and one count of unlawful confinement.
Police said two women and a 17-year-old were allegedly attacked in McKnight's home at different times after leaving different bars.
McKnight was charged Wednesday with 18 new offences, including 12 counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault and four counts of unlawful confinement.
Alleged victims are ages 17 to 22
Staff-Sgt. Devin Laforce said the complainants range in age from 17 to 22.
"All 17 of the cases have similarities and all 17 complainants are linked to the hospitality industry,'' Laforce said. "He used that affiliation with that bar industry to target the complainants, we believe.''
Laforce said there could be more complainants and witnesses. He urged anyone with information to come forward.
Former employee of Urban Sparq Hospitality
McKnight has been linked to Urban Sparq Hospitality, a company that operates bars in the city including The Pint, Knoxville's Tavern and The Old Strathcona Rack.
Police allege the crimes took place between December 2013 and July, and none happened in a bar.
Last month Brendan Crooks, manager of Urban Sparq, said McKnight is a former employee who recently worked for the company as an independent consultant.
Police said in April a 17-year-old was sexually assaulted in a home after leaving a bar for an "after party''.
Two weeks later a 22-year-old woman was allegedly attacked in a home after leaving a different bar. In July a 21-year-old woman left another bar and was allegedly sexually assaulted.
Details of the other attacks were not released.
"This is the first time at least in recent memory to the sexual assault section of having that number of complainants that are all advancing to court."
"This is very serious,'' Laforce said.
"This is the first time at least in recent memory to the sexual assault section of having that number of complainants that are all advancing to court.''
McKnight has been released on bail and is to appear in court on Nov. 7.
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