Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fashion designer Anand Jon found guilty of rape of teens, young women - sentenced to 59 years to life

(Original Post 11-16-08)
An up and coming fashion designer was found guilty of raping and molesting seen female models between 14 & 21. Anand Jon Alexander, born in India but based in Beverly Hills, was convicted Thursday after seven days of deliberation and a two month trial of a single count of rape and 15 counts of other sex charges. Jon is expected to be sentenced to life without parole on January 13(at 34, parole technically should come after 67 years, which may as well be life).

Jon, who trained at the prestigious Parsons the New School for Design in New York, starred as a guest designer on the reality television show "America's Next Top Model." In December 2006, Newsweek magazine included him in a list of people to watch in 2007.

In March 2007, Beverly Hills police arrested Jon after a woman accused him of rape.A grand jury later indicted him on 59 counts, but prosecutors eventually dropped more than half of them before trial. On Thursday, they said they did so to focus on the strongest allegations.

During the trial, prosecutors accused Jon of using the promise of modeling jobs to lure girls as young as 14 to a squalid-looking apartment in Beverly Hills, where he acted out sadistic fantasies.
Prosecutors played a homemade videotape in which he asked a 17-year-old girl to strip and then sexually abused her. The girl said on the tape that she was 18 but testified in court that Jon told her to lie about her age.

Other models, some from New York & Texas, testified that they were either touched or forced to perform sex acts with Jon without consent. Indictments and future trials in those states are upcoming. Jon's defense lawyers tried to paint the female victims as golddiggers and out to get revenge for past mistreatment.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors conceded that the Beverly Hills police investigation was "sloppy" and that some of the accusers had acted recklessly in trusting Jon. But on Thursday, they also expressed gratitude to the women who testified in the case.

Jon, prosecutors said, was the one who initiated contact with many of the women after the alleged assaults as part of a strategy to stop them from reporting him to authorities."It was his way to keep them silent," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Mara McIlvain."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Frances Young stated outside the courtrom that Jon was a"pedophile masquerading as a fashion designer." She stated that the verdict sent a message of zero tolerance to rapists and molesters.

"This jury today has sent a message that our communities will not tolerate serial rapists and child molesters like Anand Jon. They will be held accountable, and the victims will get justice."

Leonard B. Levine, Jon's defense attorney, stated that they would appeal the verdict, despite their disappointment. "He's disappointed, obviously, but he hasn't given up hope," Levine said. "We're not through by a long shot." Richard Bernard, Jon's brother-in-law, stated that "I can't believe that I was in the same courtroom."
The presiding judge is Superior Court Judge David S. Wesley, and sentencing is scheduled for January 13.
(Update 9-1-09)

After 6 hours of explaining why he should get a new trial, Alexander was sentenced to 59 years to life. This sentence, imposed by Judge Wesley August 31, consists of a 14 year sentence and a 45 years to life sentence served consecutively. This sentence was near the maximum sentence Alexander could have received, and the prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Frances Young, stated the sentence was appropriate.

Judge Wesley's rational for the long sentence was Alexander's lack of remorse, the brutality of the assaults, and his manipulation of teenage girls and young women.

Alexander tried to argue for a new trial because his sister was contacted by a juror, prosecutors failed to hand over evidence to the defense in a timely manner, and the defense lawyers he fired did not handle his case properly. Wesley ruled that the juror did contact Alexander's sisted Sanjana, but the juror misconduct was not enough to affect Alexander's chance for a fair trial.

"I was 14. You took my adolescence, my trust, my dream and completely manipulated them for your sexual desires," one of the victims said, reading from a statement.The victims said they continue suffering from depression and paranoia, and that their trust in others has been completely shattered by what they went through. Their families were also tormented by what their daughters went through, they said in statements.

Alexander faces similar charges in Texas and New York, and any time he'll serve if found guilty in those states will be served consecutively with the California sentence.

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