Fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander [ Images ] has been arrested on charges of raping at least two women and committing a lewd act upon one child in Beverly Hills, California. He has been in Los Angeles County jail since March 6.
The Beverly Hills police said that they had sufficient information to warrant an arrest. Lt Mitch McCann told rediff.com they charged Alexander with rape after a woman came forward with a complaint. Soon after, three more alleged victims came forward. If convicted, Alexander could get 15 years to life in prison, McCann said.
"They accused him because they were mad. Anand had [sexual] relations with some [of them] and they felt they were not getting enough prominence," said Ron Richards, Alexander's attorney.
Earlier, he told the media that some women flew in to do modeling jobs, had sex with Alexander and claimed they were raped when he did not put them on his show.
Richards said he is trying to get the bail reduced from the current $1.365 million (about Rs 6 crore) to secure Alexander's release.
Jon's sister, Sanjana [ Images ] Jon, also believes he was trapped. She said many people were jealous at his rapid rise and were waiting for a chance to pull him down.
"The family and friends stand behind him as a rock. We will do everything to get justice for him," she said. She asked friends and well wishers to pray for his release.
'Anand Jon maintains his innocence. It is a false accusation. Lawyers completely expect that he will be exonerated in court, if it goes that far,' a spokesman for the designer told the media.
'He had a consensual sexual relationship with a woman who is over 21 years old. The apartment was filled with at least five other people. The next day, she was trying on his clothes so that she could model his jeans line at the LA Fashion Week. She went to lunch, and something dramatically changed when she came back,' the New York Daily News quoted an unknown source as saying.
Richards said that the 15-year-old told police in the arrest report that she was 17 and is on film saying she was 18. "She lied about her age," he said, claiming Alexander had no way of knowing he was dealing with a minor.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has also put Alexander on a detainer (in which the service seeks custody of someone in the custody of another law enforcement agency).
When Officer McCann was asked about the claims that the girls were getting back at Alexander, he replied, "basically the crimes occurred. The district attorney too agreed to that."
Asked if Jon is capable of furnishing $1.365 million bail, McGann said he thinks he has the ability. But since immigration officials have got involved the matter has been complicated, he said.
The accusers told immigration officials that Jon was on a business visa because he discussed his immigration status with them. His Green Card application is in the final stages before approval. If he is acquitted it will not affect the application, Richards said.
'He hasn't had an opportunity to have any proactive action on his behalf, due to his guest status in this country. Business visitors to our country don't realise that a detainer can be placed on them without any hearing or notice,' Richard said.
Jon was charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor for alleged sexual assaults.
The alleged incidents occurred between March 3 and March 5. But police are also investigating an earlier complaint dating back to October 19, 2004.
They had not filed any case then. Since new complaints came, they resurrected that also in the charge sheet filed in the Superior Court of the LA County.
According to celebrity news Web site, TMZ.com, court documents also stated that Alexander had been arrested in 2003 on charges of committing a lewd act upon a child. He pleaded no contest then to a lesser charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. In 2005, Alexander completed his probation, which required that he do a year of sex therapy and 'not associate with any child under the age of 18 years without a responsible adult present.'
The charges against Alexander, besides several counts of rape and lewd behavior with a child, include contributing to the delinquency of a child, sexual battery of the victim along with an accomplice, and forcible oral sex.
"These are very serious charges. We arrested him at a Beverly Hills residential property. Additional evidence led us to other victims," McCann said.
Although prosecutors have charged Jon with assaulting three people, detectives are aware of a fourth, another juvenile, McCann said.
The immediate fallout of the arrest is the cancellation of the tent show on March 20 at the Los Angles Fashion Week. Jon had scheduled the debut of 'AJ Jeans by Anand Jon the Atomize collection Fall/Winter' at the Mercedes [ Images ] Benz Fashion Week L.A SmashBox Studios on Warner Drive, Culver City.
Alexander, who graduated from the Parsons School of Design in 1998, went on to become a designer for the rich and famous, mingling with celebrities such as Jessica Biel [ Images ], Jessica Alba [ Images ], Michelle Rodriguez, Ivanka Trump [ Images ], Elizabeth Jagger and Bruce Springsteen.