Oscar winning songwriter accused of multiple rapes

June 24th, 2009 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

New York, June 24 (DPA) Joseph Brooks, who won an Oscar in 1978 for the song “You Light Up”, was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexually assaulting 11 women.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, Brooks, 71, used Craigslist and a talent web site to lure his victims by promising private auditions at his Manhattan apartment. Brooks pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday and was freed on bail of $500,000.

Morgenthau said that Brooks would pay for the women to travel to New York from the Seattle and Portland areas to audition for a role as a boozy prostitute trying to seduce a man. Once in his apartment Brooks forced them to drink a large glass of red wine, which may have been drugged.

“He may very well have drugged them,” Lisa Friel, chief of the District Attorney’s sex crimes unit, told the New York Daily News. “But he certainly forced them to drink quantities of wine that left them incapacitated.”

Two of the women complained to rape counsellors, leading police to launch an investigation that led to the other women.

Morgenthau said that prosecutors were looking at other possible sexual assaults as far back as 1970.

Also charged was Shawni Lucier, Brooks’ personal assistant, who prosecutors said helped recruit the 18- to 30-year-old women and who faces nine counts of criminal facilitation.

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