Friday, November 14, 2008

Fashion designer convicted of sexual assault

An up-and-coming fashion designer who has worked with A-list celebrities was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting seven girls and women, some of them aspiring models lured to Los Angeles with promises of jobs and stays at luxury hotels.

After nearly two weeks of deliberation, a jury found Anand Jon Alexander, once featured on "America's Next Top Model," guilty of 14 felonies, including forcible rape, and two misdemeanors.

Born in India, Alexander graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York and launched a fashion line in 1999.
Before his arrest last year, Alexander was featured on "Top Model" and touted by Newsweek as a person to watch. His Web site lists dozens of celebrity A-listers as clients, including Paris Hilton, described as a fan of Alexander's hand-printed jeans, which sell for more than $700. He has also worked with singer Mary J. Blige.
The 34-year-old designer faces a mandatory life sentence because the jury found he had committed multiple forceful acts against multiple victims. Authorities said his victims ranged in age from 14 to 21.

"The ones that we know of are probably the tip of the iceberg of what truly exists," prosecutor Frances Young said outside court after the verdicts were read.

"Mr. Alexander is a 34-year-old man who masquerades as a fashion designer," Young said. "Similar to the way pedophiles surround themselves with children, he chose a career where be could be surrounded by young, very naive, very impressionable girls ... and victimized them."

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