TORONTO (Reuters) - A celebrity radio host was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault on Wednesday in a scandal that has grabbed Canada's media spotlight.
Jian Ghomeshi, 47, former host of the internationally syndicated music and arts program Q on Canadian Broadcasting Corp radio, surrendered to police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of choking, Toronto police said.
The charges follow a month-long police investigation into allegations that Ghomeshi, a former folk-rock musician who is a household name in Canada, sexually assaulted and harassed several women.
Ghomeshi's lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment. Ghomeshi will appear in court later on Wednesday.
The charges come a day after he dropped a C$55 million ($48.95 million) lawsuit against his former employer for wrongful dismissal.
The scandal broke when the CBC fired Ghomeshi in October, saying it had received information that precluded it from continuing its relationship with the host. The Q show, now hosted by someone else, is carried on Public Radio International and has had a wide following on National Public Radio in the United States.
Ghomeshi took to Facebook after he was fired, saying it was because of his preference for consensual bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism in sex. He also alleged that an ex-girlfriend and a reporter were out to get him.
A string of women, including co-workers, came forward with allegations of misconduct by Ghomeshi after his dismissal, mostly anonymously in the media. Several also went to the Toronto police.
The case recalled the 2012 sex scandal at the British Broadcasting Corp, another staid national broadcaster.
The Ghomeshi bombshell came hard on the heels of a year of scandal over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in office, and sparked jokes about Canada no longer being the land of nice and boring.
(Editing by Peter Galloway, Jeffrey Hodgson and Tom Brown)