Celebrity designer Anand Jon convicted of rape and sexual assault

November 14th, 2008 - 12:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris HiltonNew York, Nov 14 (IANS) Anand Jon, the celebrity Indian fashion designer, has been convicted by a Los Angeles court of raping and sexually assaulting seven aspiring female models of age from 14 to 21 years.Jon, 34, whose rise to fame has been designing dresses for celebrities like Paris Hilton and Janet Jackson, now faces life imprisonment. The sentencing is scheduled for Jan 13.

The 12-member jury comprising of six men and six women at Los Angeles Superior Court, after five days of deliberations, Thursday found Jon guilty of 14 felony and two misdemeanour counts.

However, the jury found Jon not guilty on four counts of sexual assault, and hung on three counts, including one count of rape. Judge David Wesley declared a mistrial on those three counts.

Giving details of the judgement, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said the jury found Jon guilty of one count of rape, two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and one count of using a minor for sexual acts.

Jon was also found guilty on seven counts of lewd act on a child, two counts of sexual battery, one count of attempted oral copulation, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, said the attorney’s office.

Welcoming the verdict, prosecutors Frances Young and Mara McIlvain with the Sex Crimes Division appreciated the courage of the young victims who had come forward with complaints against the upcoming Indian fashion designer.

“This verdict is for them,” Young told reporters outside the court.

The attorney’s office said Jon set up a fledgling fashion design business and used the business and the Internet to lure would-be models to Los Angeles.

Beverly Hills police in Los Angeles launched an investigation in March 2007 after a woman reported she was sexually assaulted by Jon at his Beverly Hills apartment. Jon is currently being held without bail, since his arrest in March last year, because he is also under indictment in New York and Texas.

Defence Attorney Leonard Levine has said that he would appeal against the verdict. Jon was initially indicted on as many as 59 counts, but many of them were later dropped by the prosecutors.

This high-profile case, which has caught the attention of the mainstream media, was also taken up by the Indian government with the authorities in California.

On Oct 16, the Consul General of India in San Francisco called on the California Attorney General, Edmund Brown, to express the concern of the Indian government at the publicly reported omissions and commissions in the due judicial process.

The Consul General also requested the Attorney General to ensure that Anand Jon is given every opportunity to defend himself to the fullest extent provided under the US laws. However, in a statement issued Oct 18, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco had clarified that in no way the Indian government wishes to interfere with the judicial process.

Related Stories

    Posted in Uncategorized |

    Subscribe