Models Begin Testifying in Rape Trial

The first of nine alleged sexual assault victims began testifying against fashion designer Anand Jon Thursday. “Jessie B” told deputy D.A. Mara McIlvain she was an 18-year-old aspiring model from Lake Stevens, Washington, when, she was contacted on her MySpace page by Jon.

Jessie broke down in tears several times as she recounted flying into Los Angeles before midnight, March 4, 2007, only to find no one waiting for her at the airport to take her to the Four Seasons hotel – as, she says, Jon had assured there would be. Instead, several taxi rides took her to 320 North Palm Drive, Apartment 309 -- Jon’s cluttered Beverly Hills home/studio. There, Jessie said, Jon almost immediately invited her to change into pajamas and join him on a deflated air mattress in his bedroom.

Jessie said Jon then forced his penis into her mouth and, moments later, pulled out her tampon and raped her.

Defense lawyer Donald Marks made hay of the fact that Jessie did not run from Jon’s apartment when she had several chances to – particularly, at one point, when she went with two of Jon’s female assistants to run an errand the next day. Marks also hammered away at what he claims were inconsistencies between the answers she gave to McIlvain on direct examination, and what Jessie had told a 2007 grand jury. Drawing on the affectionate wording of an email that Jessie had sent Jon before her visit, the attorney suggested that the couple’s sexual encounter on the flattened air mattress was one of mutual consent.

“I didn’t have ‘sex’ with him,” Jessie corrected Marks. “He raped me.”

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