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Public Radio Host Faces Drug, Not Sex, Charge

KCRW-FM's Chris Douridas was arrested earlier this year near a Santa Monica bar.

June 27, 2006|Martin Miller | Times Staff Writer

More than five months after his arrest near a popular Santa Monica bar, KCRW-FM radio host Chris Douridas was charged Monday with one count of felony possession of cocaine, but will not be prosecuted for an alleged sex crime.

The 43-year-old Grammy-nominated music tastemaker was taken into custody by police outside the Circle Bar on Jan. 6 on suspicion of drugging and trying to kidnap a 14-year-old girl who had entered the establishment with an older cousin's identification. At least one eyewitness told police that he had seen Douridas slip a substance into the drink of the teenager, who became so ill that she required hospitalization.

Douridas, of Pacific Palisades, was jailed and freed several days later after posting $1-million bail.

"Based on a thorough investigation, we felt that the only charge that could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt was possession of cocaine," said Eva Jabber, a deputy Los Angeles County district attorney with the sex crimes division.

If found guilty of cocaine possession, Douridas could face three years in prison and fines up to $10,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Douridas was in New York on Monday and was unavailable for comment.

He previously has declined to discuss the matter citing legal reasons.

However, in an e-mail to The Times earlier this year, he maintained his innocence, writing: "False allegations have been made against me, but I have faith in the justice system. I am convinced that I will be vindicated."

This is the second time Douridas has been charged with possessing illegal drugs. In 1999, he was arrested in Florida on suspicion of possession of cocaine and Ecstasy. He pleaded no contest and was placed on probation for two years.

Despite taking flack from critics, KCRW-FM (89.9) kept its longtime host and contributor on the air and publicly defended him after his arrest. KCRW will continue to broadcast "New Grounds" despite the drug charge against Douridas, said Jennifer Ferro, the station's assistant general manager.

"Chris Douridas has been through a year filled with tragedy," Ferro said. "We know there were some who rushed to an unwarranted judgment. We are hopeful this matter can be resolved in a positive way."

In addition to his longtime association with the public radio station, Douridas is probably best known for his work as a music supervisor or consultant on such Hollywood films as "Grosse Pointe Blank," "Shrek 2" and "American Beauty," for which he received his Grammy nomination. One of his most recent projects was on the DreamWorks animated movie "Over the Hedge."

Douridas also has done work for Apple Computer Inc., helping to launch a live performance and interview series known as iTunes Originals and curating iTunes Essentials, a signature series of downloadable playlists on the online music hub.

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