TORONTO — A 39-year-old “high-end” Toronto photographer has been charged after an 18-year-old model alleged she was sexually assaulted at his waterfront home, and police say they believe there may be more victims.
Toronto police told Global News the teenage girl was a model who was connected to Holland through a modelling agency in Toronto.
Police said she went to the man’s home in the Queens Quay and Yonge Street area for a photo shoot on Saturday Feb. 20 at about 1 p.m.
The woman then allegedly began posing for the man during the photo session, which is when police said he sexually assaulted her.
On Tuesday, police arrested Mark Holland, 39, of Toronto, and charged him with one count of sexual assault.
Event Coordinator Joey Paonessa said he previously worked with Holland in the club industry in Toronto and was “really shocked” to hear of the alleged sexual assault.
“Mark’s always been a perfect gentleman, great guy. I’ve always seen him treat people great, he’s just an all around good guy and I’m shocked,” he told Global News.
“We worked together for about a year and I’ve kept in contact with him and nothing like that’s ever come up and Mark doesn’t strike me as the type of guy that would do something like that either.”
Kleen Media is described on Twitter “Toronto’s leader in marketing, promotions, advertising and cutting-edge nightlife,” while Flirts Magazine is described as combining “sensual photography, fashion and art.”
Paonessa said he worked with Kleen Media and that he worked with various nightclubs throughout Toronto, but declined to name them specifically.
Those who work in the modeling industry say some can often fall prey to abuse.
“I’ve been in situations myself where, when I was younger and first starting out, you don’t really know what you’re doing. You don’t know the expectations. You’re more willing to do things because you want to do well,” said model Robynne Eaton who herself has never worked with Holland.
“They’re not experienced and the people that prey on them they take advantage of that.”
Photos on Holland’s Facebook page show images taken and events scheduled at various venues such as Uniun Nightclub, Wildflower, The Everleigh and Brassaii lounge among others.
“I know he does a lot of photography and modelling as well. I also know he’s big with the Toronto Men’s Fashion Week,” Paonessa said.
“Most of the venues that they work with are very high-end, they’re very posh places.”
A spokeswoman for the organization said in an emailed statement to Global News that Holland is not a photographer for Toronto Men’s Fashion Week and has never been one.
Paonessa added that he had never heard of something like this happening to a photographer in the Toronto club industry.
“This is extremely rare. I’ve never heard of something like this happening in the industry, especially like the photographers,” he said.
“As far as what I’ve heard they’re allegations right now. So nothing’s been confirmed and I’m kind of hoping it’s not true what happened.”
Holland is described by police as 5’11” tall, with an athletic build, clean-cut light-brown hair and a clean-shaven face.
Investigators released a photo of the suspect and say they believe there may be additional victims.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at http://www.222tips.com, by texting TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or by leaving a tip on Facebook.