LA Weekly‘s Steven Mikulan published “The Strange and Disturbing Trial of Anand Jon” last week. It’s an excellent story about the rape trial of Indian-born clothing designer Anand Jon. Jon faces multiple sex crime charges in California, New York and Dallas. Quoting Mikulan: “Even in its quietest moments, the Jon case is a volatile fable of rape, ambitious but naïve girls, the rag trade and feral male vanity.” Mikulan’s article is well worth the read for anyone fascinated by the intersection of crime and celebrity (of a sort).
Browsing: Celebrity Crime
Helen Sjöholm and Tito Beltran singing “The Prayer” during the Rhapsody in Rock Tour in 2000.
I trained to be an opera singer — a tenor — and I have performed roles and in concerts with opera companies throughout the South, so you’d think I might have noticed the ongoing drama overseas with talented Chilean/Swedish tenor Tito Beltran. After all, I’m pretty sure I have a couple of recordings featuring Beltran and his name was immediately familiar to me.
Beltran has performed leading roles at some of the greatest opera houses in Europe: the Vienna Staatsoper; Covent Garden; and Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, just to name a few. Beltran has also performed at several houses here in America, including the San Francisco Opera. Beltran has played the mercurial poet Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme, the lovelorn and rather slow-witted Nemorino in Donizetti’s Elixir of Love and of course, the lecherous Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto. According to his own bio on his website, Tito Beltran has performed with opera luminaries such as Placido Domingo, Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.
Well, as the title of this post indicated, it looks as though this leading tenor may have had more in common with the Duke than with Rodolfo or Nemorino.
In 1999, Tito Beltran’s bio says he was called the “Artist of the Year” by Opera Now Magazine. Things were obviously going well. That same year he appeared in the Rhapsody in Rock concert tour in Sweden. One night after a concert, he raped an 18-year-old nanny in his hotel room.
Then in 2000 and 2002, Beltran “sexually exploited” a six-year-old girl who lived in Kungsbacka in western Sweden. He didn’t stop there. After the crimes against the little girl were reported to the authorities, Beltran allegedly harassed her father in an attempt to forestall any further judicial action.
Curiously, Beltran was first acquitted of all charges in a district court in Varberg, SE. The case was then reexamined as part of the appeals process and eventually, Beltran found himself in the Court of Appeal facing a combined case. He was convicted of all charges in February, 2008. The verdict against the tenor was unanimous. The court levied several thousand dollars of fines against the singer as well.
The case against Beltran relied less on forensic evidence and more on witness testimony, which was consistent. But Beltran’s status as an opera star in Europe seemed to be in his favor — other well-known musicians were more than willing to speak up on his behalf. Robert Wells, the musician who ran the Rhapsody in Rock tour, admitted that he just couldn’t believe the charges against the singer.
At one point, in January, Beltran even brought some of the drama from the operatic stage into the courtroom, as Wells was giving testimony in the case. Beltran, according Sweden’s English news outlet The Local, “burst into tears and collapsed” in court. Beltran’s lawyer described his client “lying on the floor vomiting,” and said it was “really serious.”
Beltran’s sentence in this case, less than 3 years in prison, may seem paltry by U.S. standards. For a tenor who once commanded the storied stages of Europe’s great houses, it is virtually a life sentence. The fall is Shakespearian in scope, from my perspective. I’ve put out feelers to friends in the world of opera for any anecdotes regarding this case, but most of my friends are Americans and never encountered Beltran when he performed here. If I do receive any comments or correspondence about this operatic Icarus, I’ll post them in another entry.
Promotional video for Joe Son as a mixed martial arts fighter.
So back in May, a friend of Joe Son’s filed a vandalism charge against the actor turned mixed martial artist turned loser. Joe Son, who is 37, was required to give his DNA.
Whoops. Son’s DNA generated a cold hit in the California database, and on October 1, he was charged with 5 felony counts of forcible rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, seven felony hits for forcible oral sex, two counts of “sodomy in concert by force” and the nasty cherry on the top of this sexual predator’s sundae, a felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object, by force.
A gang rape occurred on Christmas Eve, 1990, when Son was 19 or 20, and California authorities think Son was a participant.
Son, a native of Huntington Beach, CA first came to fame playing a character named Random Task in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Son decided to become an MMA fighter at some point, but according to the always-reliable Wikipedia (that’s a joke, for the humor-challenged among you), he retired with a 0-4 record. Son was apparently better known for dragging a crucifix into the ring before his fights and for wearing very little in the ring.
Joe Son’s MySpace: myspace.com/josondo. His general interests were listed as “The Bible. Throwing Shoes.” Under “About Me,” Son wrote, “I’m the founder of Josondo. You may remember me from an early UFC event as that asian fellow who took 10 straight punches to the pills. I also played Random Task in the first ‘Austin Powers’ movie.”
“Josondo” is apparently Son’s own made-up thing.
TMZ noted that if Son is convicted of the counts against him, he may face up to 275 years in prison. Plenty of time to perfect his “josondo” on amorous cellmates eager to show the guy what “gang rape” really means.
[FOXNews.com and TMZ.]
November, 2007 news story about David Ajemian, via YouTube and WCVB Television.
Wow, it’s just crazy priest Friday ’round these parts. Our newest frater rabidus is actually not so new at all — it’s former Father David Ajemian, the priest who came to infamy by stalking late-night talker Conan O’Brien.
The first tidbit about Ajemian — it looks as though he has a yen for stalking celebrities no other psycho would think to stalk. According to the Boston Globe, one Lindsay Crouse, ex-wife of playwright David Mamet, has accused Ajemian of sending her “very disturbing” letters. Ajemian allegedly sent one missive to a theater where Ms. Crouse was performing in a play, and the other letter through the mail.
Secondly, there’s this, a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston, issued on September 11:
[…] the Archdiocese of Boston was informed that Fr. David Ajemian, against the wishes of his bishop, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, and medical professionals, checked himself out of a medical facility located outside Massachusetts where he has been staying for the past several months. Our understanding is that he plans initially to return to Massachusetts to the care of his family.
As a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. David Ajemian made a promise of obedience to his bishop when he was ordained in 2001. In the context of these vows and with his medical care a priority, Fr. Ajemian was instructed to remain at an out of state residential treatment facility indefinitely to receive the care he requires. By his own actions, he has violated this mandate from his bishop. Therefore, he is Absent Without Permission. He is not authorized to function as a priest.
We pray for Fr. Ajemian, for his family and for all those who are concerned about his health and well-being. We also pray for those who have been impacted by Fr. Ajemian’s actions.
So he’s got that going for him.
I did this post about Ajemian for Radar Magazine’s “Fresh Intelligence” blog back in November, 2007. I wanted to check it out again partly just to remind myself of why it may be a really bad idea for Mr. Ajemian (ain’t no Father no mo’, according to that Archdiocese announcement) to be free of daily, proactive medical supervision. The dude is just WHACKED.
He posted on several message boards as Padre009, and was, as you might imagine, something of a troll. It looks as thought NBC removed his messages some time ago, but I can quote the one I found when I wrote the piece for Radar.
Ajemian referred to O’Brien as “Corncob” in his posts and seemed to take umbrage at someone else referring to “complete lunatics” posting on the Late Night message board. He wrote, in part: “”I’m just a two-bit HACK and I don’t even know it!!! My stories and nuttiness are PATHETIC— why?? Well of course because they DON’T MEAN ANYTHING!!! Compared to THE WRITERS who are—- GOLDEN—- AND—- BEAUTIFUL—- AND—- BELOVED … Yes the WRITERS—THE WRITERS— UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING!!!!”
Oy. Here’s hoping someone figures out a way to slip some anti-psychotic medication into this guy’s communion wine.
[E! Online and the Boston Globe.]
Clips from Shelley Malil’s work in TV and movies.
Forty-three-year-old Indian-born actor Shelley Malil isn’t a household name, but you’ve probably seen his face. IMDB.com shows a resume stretching back to 1994. Malil has appeared on TV shows like Seinfeld and NYPD Blue and movies such as Collateral Damage and more recently, The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Now Malil is making a move from near-fame to real infamy. Shelley Malil was arrested early Monday in Oceanside, CA.
According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept., Malil went to his ex-girlfriend’s house Sunday night around 9 p.m. He found his ex in the back yard with a male companion. That was when Malil allegedly went berserk. He picked up a knife and stabbed the woman several times. She fled, and Malil gave chase, allegedly injuring the woman’s male friend when he tried to help.
A neighbor heard screaming and saw Malil and Malil’s ex near the front door of the victim’s residence. Malil left and the neighbor tried to help, putting pressure on the stab wounds. The neighbor said the woman’s “chin was almost entirely cut off” and there were “a lot of gashes on her back as well.”
The stabbing victim was taken to Palomar Hospital. She was in critical condition, but investigators tell San Diego-area media that she will live. Malil is in the San Diego County Detention Center, being held on $2 million bail for suspicion of attempted murder, mayhem and burglary.
Shelley Malil’s web page at Malil.com is offline now (go figure), but it can still be accessed via the links below:
* Homepage, Malil.com
[KNBC | Los Angeles via E! Online]
Someone, possibly the killer of 23-year-old Army Spc Megan Touma, sent a letter to a Fayetteville, NC paper. In it, he tried to imply that he was the second coming of a legendary, still unknown killer. All the letter-writer had to do to make his message clear was sign the letter with a circle quartered by crosshairs. That symbol could only bring to mind the Zodiac Killer.
Authorities have arrested someone in connection with Touma’s June, 2008 murder, and the truth may be this: there never was a new serial killer. There was only a young man who didn’t want to be a father. Only a soldier named Edgar Patino Lopez, who happened to be studying psyops at Fort Bragg when Touma was murdered.
According to his mother and sister, current Batman star and former American Psycho star Christian Bale went a little psycho for real on Sunday, July 20, and assaulted them both at the Dorchester Hotel in Hampshire, UK.
The 34-year-old actor’s mother Jenny and sister Sharon reported Bale to the Hampshire police and that department punted to London’s Metropolitan Police.
Bale essentially made an appointment with the cops for Tuesday morning. Then he attended the premiere of his new film, the already-phenomenally popular The Dark Knight.
Bale was in custody for a while on Tuesday as police questioned him about the incident.
[Sky News, London Telegraph.]