81°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Metro rape investigation into real estate agent sparks LA probe

Updated April 5, 2021 - 6:15 pm

Detectives in Los Angeles have launched their own investigation into a prominent figure in the real estate industry after Las Vegas police unearthed a series of rape allegations spanning more than a decade.

Las Vegas police have said they believe the crimes occurred “in numerous locations around the United States,” including in Las Vegas, on the Hawaiian island of Maui, in Denver and in and around Los Angeles.

“We’ve provided investigative leads to other jurisdictions,” said Metro spokesman Misael Parra. “However, they decide if and how they are going to investigate them.”

On Monday, Denver police said they were unable to locate any sexual assault reports against Michael Lee Bjorkman in their records, while authorities in Maui said they could not respond to a Las Vegas Review-Journal inquiry until Tuesday.

In the California case, Lt. John Adams of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Monday that they are investigating a sexual assault that reportedly occurred in 2006 or 2007 in Marina del Rey.

“The incident was brought to our attention by investigators from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department,” he told the Review-Journal, though he did not release further details, citing an active investigation.

Bjorkman, 48, is based in the Los Angeles area but often traveled for work to attend real estate conventions and training conferences around the United States, according to his Las Vegas police arrest report.

He is charged in Las Vegas with two counts of sexual assault.

Parra, the Metro spokesman, said that as of Monday, “there has only been one victim with crimes that are within the statute of limitations,” noting that “all the victims from Las Vegas who are willing to come forward at this time have.”

The statute in Nevada is 20 years, but, by law, if a victim of sexual assault files a police report within the statute of limitations, or if DNA collected from a sexual assault victim leads to the identification of a suspect, there is no deadline by which a prosecutor must move forward with a case.

Bjorkman came under investigation in September, after a woman reported to Metro that she had been drugged and raped by the real estate agent during an August convention in Las Vegas, according to his arrest report, which is 27 pages.

The woman told police that she had gone to a dinner with other convention attendees, and while eating “began feeling extremely intoxicated after having only one drink,” the report states. It is the last thing she can remember from the evening, she said, before waking up the next morning in her hotel room — “alone and nude,” according to the report.

It goes on to describe several more instances, reported to Metro sex crime detective by others in the real estate business, of people waking up in their hotel rooms, naked or partially clothed, with no memory of the previous night. The alleged crimes began as early as 2000, the report states.

According to the report, the allegations primarily were made by women, although at least two men said they believe they were drugged, due to severe lapses in their memory during real estate events.

The report states that the suspect may have had help from “a close friend,” who apparently supplied Bjorkman with “date rape” drugs and sometimes recorded the sexual assaults. The man has not been identified by authorities.

Parra said an investigation into the friend was ongoing Monday.

Bjorkman remains free on $100,000 bail pending a May 6 preliminary hearing in the Las Vegas case.

Anyone with information about crimes that may have occurred in Las Vegas may contact Metro’s sexual assault section at 702-449-3911, or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST