The Oscar-winning songwriter who composed the 1970s hit "You Light Up My Life" has been accused of raping women who responded to ads he posted on Craigslist.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau indicted Joseph Brooks on charges of raping or sexually assaulting 11 women, nine of whom answered a Craigslist ad seeking women to audition for acting roles. Brooks' personal assistant, Shawni Lucier, was charged with criminal facilitation. Prosecutors say she helped arrange for the women to come to his apartment.
Cops said that at least four women had accused Brooks of sexual assault, among them a former "American Idol" contestant, according to The New York Post.
Ex-Idol aspirant Loretta Spruell alleges Brooks lured her to his Manhattan apartment under the auspices of a film tryout. Once she got there, Spruell says the 71-year-old proceeded to rip off her clothes and rape her, the Post reported.
A second woman accuses Brooks of forcing her to strip before raping her after the two met at the Carlyle Hotel a few years ago. The woman claims she had responded to one of Brooks' Craigslist ads seeking a personal assistant.
Another woman alleges Brooks drugged, beat, sodomized and raped her, according to the Post.
Brooks' attorney, Jeffrey Hoffman, has vehemently denied the allegations. He said "there will be lengthy arguments" during the arraignment, which is scheduled for this afternoon.
Brooks won the Oscar for Best Original Song for the 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life." He also wrote and directed the "You Light Up My Life" romantic comedy about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director.
Authorities have been cracking down on crimes connected to Craigslist ads. Two New Yorkers have been slain in the past year after posting or responding to ads. Upper West Sider Julissa Brisman, 26, was allegedly shot to death by former medical student Philip Markoff in April. Markoff, who has become known as the "Craigslist Killer," pleaded not guilty in connection with her death during his arraignment yesterday.
In March, ABC radio newsman George Weber was brutally stabbed to death by a teen who responded to Weber's Craigslist ad for "rough sex." Craigslist has since disbanded its "erotic services" section, where most of the ads were posted.