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Fashion designer convicted of sexual assault

Fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander is convicted of sexually assaulting girls and women, some of them aspiring models allegedly lured with rarely fulfilled promises of jobs.
Image: Anand Jon Alexander
Defendant Anand Jon Alexander appears at his trial on Thursday in Los Angeles. His defense attorneys said they will appeal his conviction on sexual assault charges.Nick Ut / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting girls and women, some of them aspiring models who authorities say were lured to Los Angeles with rarely fulfilled promises of jobs and stays at luxury hotels.

After nearly two weeks of deliberation, a jury found the 34-year-old designer guilty of 14 felonies and two misdemeanors, including forcible rape and committing a lewd act upon a child. Authorities say Alexander's seven victims ranged in age from 14 to 21.

He was acquitted on four counts. He was acquitted of four felonies, including unlawful sexual intercourse. Jurors could not reach a verdict on three counts, and Superior Court Judge David Wesley declared a mistrial on those charges.

Outside court, defense attorney Leonard Levine said he plans to appeal. Alexander faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Alexander's attorneys maintained their client was innocent, saying that there was a lack of physical evidence and that his accusers lied in court and sought revenge.

Used to work with celebrities
Before his arrest last year, Alexander was featured on the television show "America's Next Top Model" and worked with such celebrities as Paris Hilton and Mary J. Blige.

Beverly Hills police began investigating Alexander in March 2007 when a woman reported she had been sexually assaulted by the designer in his apartment.

Alexander also is under indictment in New York on similar charges involving nine women and is under investigation by authorities in Texas and Massachusetts.

Born in India, Alexander graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York and launched a fashion line in 1999. He was considered an up-and-coming designer and was named a person to watch by Newsweek.