You Light Up My Life: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly


Voices of Glory

Voices of Glory

Eriam Sisters
Eriam Sisters
NBC tonight took me from the highs of watching the EriAm Sisters and Voices of Glory on America’s Got Talent  to the lows of the arrest of Joseph Brooks on KING5’s 11:00 news.  It was the essence of the good. . .the bad. . .and the ugly.
 
The EriAm Sisters are from Renton, Washington.  They’ve been compared to the Jackson Five.
 
The Voices of Glory are from New York City.  They started singing for their mother who was in an 8-month-long coma after being in a crash with a drunk driver.
 
I’m an absolute sucker for stories about exceptionally talented kids with big dreams of becoming stars and parents who support them.
 
Unfortunately, these kids’ audition experiences were dramatically different.  I hope you’ll take a moment to click on the links to the videos of the kids on America’s Got Talent before you read the rest of this post because it is truly ugly.
 
Joseph Brooks

Joseph Brooks

KIRO7, the CBS affliate in Seattle, spent a year investingating allegations that young women had been lured via a “Seattle-talent gigs” ad on CraigsList to audition with Joseph Brooks, author of the 1970s Oscar and Golden Globe-winning ballad “You Light Up My Life.”  The lyrics are lovely:

So many dreams I kept deep inside me

Alone in the dark but now

You’ve come along

You light up my life

You give me hope

To carry on

You light up my days

and fill my nights with song

It can’t be wrong

When it feels so right

‘Cause You

You light up my life

But, perhaps these young women should have watched the movie You Light Up My Life before they got on the plane.  It is about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director.

According to New York City prosecutors, Brooks had help from his personal assistant, Shawnie Lucier from Federal Way, Washington, who allegedly placed the CraigsList ad:

Young girl to play homeless girl in feature film.  We are looking for a very pretty, sad eyed, deer caught in the headlights kind of girl ~ beautiful and sensitive.

According to KING5, she “helped pick the victims, interviewed them, arranged their travel and made them feel comfortable.”  The Seattle Times reported:

District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said. . .when the women’s mothers called, Lucier. . .would assure them their daughters were fine.  When Brooks was ready to strike, he said, Lucier would leave the apartment “knowing what the end result would be.”

You can watch a Woodinville, Washington woman’s account of that “end result” on KING5’s web page.  The indictment according to KIRO7 spells it out:

Brooks pretended to conduct auditions with the much younger women [Brooks, a stroke survivor, is 71; his 11 victims range in age from 18 to 30] at his [Manhattan] apartment, possibly using a drug, like Rohypnol, to daze the actresses. . .

In many cases the victims were forcibly raped.  In many cases they were incapacitated.  In some cases the victims were both forced and incapacitated with a large glass of wine.

New York detectives arrested Brooks on Tuesday on 91 felony and misdemeanor charges:  rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, assault, and grand larceny.  If convicted, he could spend 25 years in prison.  Lucier faces 9 misdemeanor counts of criminal faciliation and faces a year in prison.

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