The Oscar-winning composer of the schmaltzy hit "You Light Up My Life" raped 11 young women he lured to his apartment with Craigslist ads promising to turn them into stars, authorities charged yesterday.
Joseph Brooks, 71 -- who traded on his fame from the 1977 Academy Award for Best Song -- convinced his victims to take off their clothes on his personal casting couch, and when they needed an extra push, pulled out his Oscar and put it in their hands, police said.
"This could be you. This could be you holding the Oscar. I could make you a star," NYPD Lt. Adam Lamboy of the Manhattan Special Victims Squad quoted Brooks as saying.
Authorities said he had his 42-year-old female personal assistant, Shawni Lucier, from Washington state, help him choose his victims.
"We are looking to have someone who we want to turn into a star," his ads said, according to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Lisa Friel.
The ads -- posted on Craigslist and talent sites -- said an "Oscar award-winning composer" was looking for a "new face," a "young girl between 18 and 22" who is beautiful, but did not mention Brooks by name.
He turned himself in to police yesterday to face 82 counts of rape, sexual assault and many other charges. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bond.
One of his accusers -- a 24-year-old student who lives in Brooklyn and spoke on condition of anonymity -- said she was happy that Brooks might finally face justice.
"If he were put in jail for the rest of his life, I'd be happy," she said. "I just don't want to see this happen to any other girl. He is just a very sick old man on a power trip."
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