Thursday, November 27, 2003
San Diego Police are investigating a 22-year-old woman's report she was raped in the bathroom of a house being used to film MTV's "The Real World," officials said Tuesday.
The woman told police she believed that a man she met at a nearby nightspot slipped a drug into her drink, took her to the house and raped her, possibly while the assault was filmed.
Armed with a search warrant five days after the alleged incident, police seized numerous videotapes, DVDs, pornographic magazines and business cards from the house, as well as bedding, a computer, a set of brass knuckles and trash from wastebaskets, according to court documents.
One cast member remembered the woman being "disoriented and having difficulty speaking" when she staggered out of a bathroom, according to the search warrant. Another cast member said she saw the woman naked. Another told police that the accused boasted, "I just hit that."
A rape examination of the woman showed indications of sex as well as abrasions and lacerations, the search warrant says.
San Diego County district attorney's investigators also seized tapes from the offices of Bunim-Murray Productions in Los Angeles, the show's producer.
One of several reality shows on television, "The Real World" features young, attractive people living and working together while cameras record their sometimes volatile and R-rated interactions. The San Diego episodes are to be broadcast in January as the show enters its 14th season.
So far, no tapes verifying the allegations about filming the rape have been uncovered, officials said. The Police Department has assigned a team of detectives to the case.
The woman and the suspect are not part of the show's cast or crew, said Capt. David Ramirez of the department's sex-crimes unit.
Ramirez declined to say whether police had located a suspect. According to the search warrant, the woman said the man was named Justin and claimed to be a friend of a cast member.
"There's a lot about this we don't know yet," Ramirez said. "There are parts of the woman's account that we haven't been able to confirm yet."
The woman said she passed out at the nightspot on the night of Nov. 14 and awoke several hours later in one of the bathrooms of the house. The woman reported the incident to the police within hours, Ramirez said.
"The producers of 'The Real World' and the cast are cooperating fully with local authorities investigating an incident that may have occurred at 'The Real World' house," Bunim-Murray said Tuesday in a prepared statement. "None of the cast or crew members had any involvement in this incident."
The assertion of full cooperation was disputed by law enforcement officials.
"They lawyered up real fast," an official said.
A police official said "The Real World" cast and crew members were not immediately candid about the location of all the tape shot by the 30-plus cameras in the house.