Sex fiend fashion designer jailed for 59 years
A fashion designer was jailed for 59 years to life for sexually assaulting aspiring models he lured to Los Angeles.
Superior Court judge David Wesley sentenced 35-year-old Anand Jon Alexander, who was convicted in November of 14 counts including forcible rape.
He was found not guilty of four felonies and jurors could not reach a verdict on three counts.
His victims, some of whom spoke at the hearing, were aged between 14 and 21.
Prosecutors said Alexander often found women online, baited them with promises of glamorous photoshoots and other modelling work, only to assault or rape them at his Beverly Hills apartment.
The designer was featured on the US television show America's Next Top Model.
Alexander showed no reaction as the judge said he should be incarcerated as long as possible for preying upon young girls and women.
"Mr Alexander has showed no remorse for his actions," Judge Wesley said.
The sentencing capped a tumultuous, exhausting post-verdict saga that included allegations of juror tampering by Alexander's sister, juror misconduct and Alexander's decision to represent himself.
Alexander earlier lost a bid for a new trial, claiming there was a conspiracy among law enforcement to convict him.
The most striking image came as a bevy of beautiful women who said Alexander sexually assaulted them filled a jury box.
The 13 women cried as Judge Wesley recounted some of the crimes and they held hands as the sentence was read. One had mascara running down her face; another shook her head in disgust at Alexander.
Three of the women spoke, each telling the packed court how Alexander had robbed them of their innocence and their formative years.
"I was 14. You took my adolescence, my trust, my dream and completely manipulated them for your sexual desires," said one of the women.
"It sickens me that a grown man can do such a thing to a girl," the now 17-year-old said. "A girl who was naive and had the belief that all people were good. And you took that to your advantage."
"I have a constant reminder of the day that I, the biggest daddy's girl in the world, had to tell my dad that I had been raped by this person," said another woman, now 21. Alexander was convicted of raping her in March 2007.
"Now every day I have to cope with my family having to relive all of this and it absolutely kills me."
Alexander, wearing a dark suit with his long black hair tied in a ponytail, put on a pair of black-rimmed glasses but otherwise showed no emotion.
It was a stark contrast to earlier in the day when he argued a motion for a new trial, even breaking down into tears at one point.
Judge Wesley had already turned down a previous motion for a new trial after it was discovered that juror Alvin Dymally had contacted Alexander's sister Sanjana. The judge found both in contempt of court after determining Dymally appeared to want a romantic relationship with her when he spoke to her by phone twice during the trial and offered his help.
Dymally also gave her a note in a court cafeteria, asking her to call him. She did but refused to meet him alone.
The judge held her in contempt for contacting the juror and failing to report the misconduct. A hearing will be held later this month.
In denying the first motion for a new trial, Wesley said there wasn't any proof the phone conversations swayed the verdict.
Prosecutors said Alexander's case was an example of what could happen when young women looked for opportunity on the internet.
"The lesson is that often young women or young girls may have dreams they hope to follow," said deputy district attorney Mara McIlvain. "But I think the internet is one of those horrible places now where they come across people they don't know or understand."
The designer who has worked with such celebrities as Paris Hilton and Mary J Blige, also faced similar charges in New York and Texas, prosecutors said.
Born in India, Alexander graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York and launched a fashion line in 1999.