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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- A man is in jail, accused of groping masseuses. Police say it's what he did next that got him into even more trouble with the law.
The man tried to pass himself off as a police officer doing undercover work.
Police arrested 40-year-old Iese Maiava over the weekend. For the past couple of weeks, Maiava was making appointments for massages at different businesses and then groping the masseuses.
When the women threatened to call police, Maiava allegedly claimed to be working undercover and would congratulate the victims, saying they "passed the test."
"He offers them, you know, ‘I'll be your representative with the police force,' and promises them they won't be charged and they're not doing anything wrong," said Lt. Don Hutson with the Unified Police Department. "Then he also refuses to pay based on the fact that it's part of some sort of investigation."
Police know of two victims so far. One of the women works at a massage business in South Salt Lake. She didn't want to be identified, but she told KSL the man came in for a massage June 15.
"Ten minutes into the session, he started touching me inappropriately," she said. "I asked him to quit touching me and he continued to touch me, and I became frightened because I was alone."
"He said, 'Good job, you passed. I'm working undercover'... I said I didn't think they could touch you inappropriately like that, and he said, ‘Cops can do whatever they want.'"
When she told him she was going to call police, the man pulled out a piece of paper with a police logo on it and told her he was part of an undercover operation.
"I told him that he was going to jail," she said, but the man said he was "not going to jail because he's a sheriff."
"He said, 'Good job, you passed. I'm working undercover. Good job, you passed,'" the woman told KSL. "I said I didn't think they could touch you inappropriately like that, and he said, ‘Cops can do whatever they want.'"
The woman says the man asked to see her business license and then left.
Hutson says real officers wouldn't act that way. "We would suggest any citizen would ask for a little more legitimate identification," he said.
She didn't report the incident until she heard other therapists talk about a man matching his description targeting other masseuses.
Police know of another victim who runs a massage business at her home in Kearns. She reported the incident, and investigators were able to track down the suspect.
Police say there could be more victims and are encouraging anyone who had contact with Maiava to come forward.
He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for forcible sexual abuse and for impersonating a police officer.
Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi and Paul Nelson.