Songwriter and film director Joseph Brooks was charged with a 91-count indictment yesterday for using his status as a onetime-Oscar winner to lure women with dreams of stardom into his apartment so that he could allegedly rape and sexually assault them. Brooks, 71, primarily used craigslist to advertise parts in "his next movie" that led to sexual assaults on at least 11 women at his apartment on East 63rd Street, mostly over the last two years. An investigator told reporters, “The Oscar was used as a prop. This could be you, this could be you holding this Oscar. If you do what I say.”

The bulk of the women flew in from Oregon and Washington. Authorities say that Brooks selected regions so far away because he "hoped that would leave them without the energy to put up a fight." Brooks's 42-year-old female assistant, Shawni Lucier, has also been charged in facilitating the attacks. A Northwest native herself, Lucier would set up travel arrangements for the young women and allegedly "reassured mothers worried about sending their daughters alone to New York on flights."

When the women showed up for their "audition" at his apartment, Brooks would flaunt the Oscar. Brooks allegedly would tell his victims that "the scene they were depicting involved drinking glasses of wine 'repeatedly and quickly.'" Soon after that, he would then instruct them to remove their clothes and forced himself upon them. An investigator said, “At this time, we don’t believe this was an actual movie role he was casting for." ADA Maxine Rosenthal told reporters, "For the most part, they were people who read an ad and thought this might be the big chance to be a star." One of the victims, who had traveled from Seattle, had formerly auditioned for American Idol.

Brooks pleaded not guilty to all charged and is out on $250,000 bond. He could face up to 25 years in prison for all of the charges. He won his sole Oscar in 1978 for penning the song, "You Light Up My Life," sung by Debby Boone, which held the Billboard record for longest stay at #1 for 15 years until being dethroned by Boyz II Men. Brooks also wrote, directed and produced the film of the same name about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director. At the YouTube video for the song, the news prompted one commenter to say, "It makes me not want to listen to it anymore."