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Victim Suing Luster Says She Felt Betrayed

Ex-girlfriend testifies that she was devastated to learn he had raped her the night they met.

September 04, 2003|Tracy Wilson | Times Staff Writer

One of Andrew Luster's rape victims, who was also his former girlfriend, testified Wednesday that she felt violated and betrayed when she found out he had drugged and raped her on the night they first met.

The woman, identified as Tonja Doe, testified during a civil trial that for years she was unaware she had been raped until detectives investigating an unrelated sex assault showed her a videotape of the incident.

"I was just totally devastated, horrified," she said.

A Ventura County Superior Court judge presiding over the nonjury trial viewed the tape in court Wednesday. It shows Luster undressing Doe and engaging in sex acts as she lies unconscious on his bed. Authorities found the tape during a July 2000 search of Luster's home, where Doe briefly lived with him before ending a romance that began in 1996. She is now suing him for millions of dollars in damages.

Earlier this year, a jury found Luster, 39, the great-grandson of cosmetics legend Max Factor, guilty on multiple counts of rape involving three women. He is serving a 124-year prison sentence and awaiting a decision from the California Supreme Court on whether he can appeal.

A state court recently ruled that Luster had no appeal rights because he fled his criminal trial and was a fugitive at the time the conviction was challenged.

Meanwhile, Luster's three rape victims have each sued him for assault and infliction of emotional distress. Last month, a judge awarded one $19 million in damages. Doe's trial began Wednesday.

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