Belmont Club

"You Light Up My Life"

The composer of these words may be revising the lyrics to “you’re looking at life” — in jail. The UPI reports that composer Joseph Brooks, 71, has been charged with rape. He has pleaded not guilty.

The New York Times said Joseph Brooks, who won an Oscar for his 1977 song “You Light Up My Life,” was arrested and charged Tuesday with assaulting nearly a dozen women between the ages of 18 and 30.

Prosecutors said he met his alleged victims through Craigslist and an unnamed talent Web site, then lured them to his home with the promise of helping them with their acting careers.

Brooks’s 42-year-old female assistant, Shawni Lucier, was charged with assisting the songwriter, who suffered a stroke last year, in his alleged crimes, The Times said.

WSJ Blogs calls it “the old casting couch scheme”.

Brooks is accused of an old-fashioned casting-couch scheme: He’s said to have found women on Craigslist and lured them to his Upper East Side apartment with the promise of an audition for a part in his next movie. The last movie he produced the music for, incidentally, was 2003’s “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.” The one before that? “Miss Congeniality.”

The Times Online describes how the casting-couch scheme worked in this case. The suspect allegedly asked women to audition for the part of a prostitute. The police also found an email from Brook’s son breaking relations with his father out of disgust from his “predatory” behavior. The email added, “You made your bed and now you must sleep in it.”

Once the women were inside, Mr Brooks allegedly told them to audition for the role of a prostitute in a scene that required them to drink a lot of wine.

“The part called for them to drink the wine in a seductive manner. He told them to be very comfortable with their bodies, to drink the wine and feel sexy about themselves as they became more and more intoxicated,” Adam Lamboy, of the Manhattan Special Victims Squad, said.

Mr Brooks pushed his victims to take off their clothes on his casting couch. If they resisted, he brought out his Oscar statuette and put it in their hands, police said.

“The Oscar was used as a prop,” Lieutenant Amboy said. Mr Brooks allegedly told the young women: “This could be you holding the Oscar. I could make you a star.” Police became aware of the alleged attacks when two women came forward last year

In recent days a governor has made a public fool of himself over an extra-marital affair; a legendary TV star has been found hanging in a Bangkok hotel room; a famous music entrepreneur has been convicted of shooting an actress and now a successful composer may be looking at a stretch. Members of the public must be wondering why successful people can be so self destructive. A search on the Internet will throw up hundreds of article on “self-destructive” or “self-sabotaging” behavior. One article is entitled “why good people do bad things”. Who knows? Dostoevsky wrote, “man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time.” But that doesn’t mean you’ll find any answers.

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