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Tyson Set to Appear at Arraignment Today : Jurisprudence: Boxer faces rape, three other felony charges. Women’s group outraged fight will go on.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson will surrender this morning in Marion County Superior Court and be formally arraigned on felony charges that he raped an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant here July 19.

Tyson, who has previously denied the charges, was indicted Monday by a Marion County grand jury on four felony counts relating to the alleged incident, which prosecutors say occurred when Tyson was in town to help promote the Indiana Black Expo.

“The court had an opening, and Mr. Tyson and his attorneys agreed to the date of the initial hearing,” said Rob Smith, spokesman for the Marion County prosecutor’s office. “Tyson and his attorneys have been cooperative throughout this entire situation.”

Meanwhile, the news of Tyson’s decision to go forward with his upcoming multimillion-dollar title fight Nov. 8 in Las Vegas against current world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield brought outrage Tuesday from women’s rights advocates, who say protests are likely.

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“You can’t keep the man from working . . . but really, what kind of example is Mike Tyson?” Melanie Baham, president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), told the Associated Press.

Tyson, 25, faces a maximum prison sentence of 63 years if he is convicted of rape, two counts of criminal deviate conduct and one count of confinement for the alleged incident.

Under Indiana law, an automatic plea of not guilty will be issued by the court today unless Tyson chooses otherwise. Tyson’s local counsel, Jim Voyles, would not comment on the case. A trial date will also be set.

After the hearing, Tyson will then be taken to the Marion County Jail, where he will be required to post $30,000 bail, after which he will be freed.

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"(Tyson) will be processed, fingerprinted and booked,” said Marion County prosecutor Jeffrey Modisett. “Since bail has already been set, it will be a simple matter of him posting bail.”

Modisett said that Tyson met the alleged victim at the Miss Black America beauty pageant on July 18, and they agreed to meet that night after a concert they attended separately. Modisett says that the alleged rape occurred at 1:30 a.m. EDT in Tyson’s room at the Canterbury Hotel, and that the woman reported a rape 24 hours later after her family arrived in Indianapolis and took her to a hospital, where a medical examination “corroborated her allegations.”

Despite the indictment, promoters say they will go forward with Tyson’s fight against Holyfield at Caesars Palace, which is projected to be the richest boxing event ever with revenues close to $100 million. Tyson is guaranteed to earn $15 million.

“I think it sends a terrible message to young men: It’s OK to rape women,” said Lisa Sliwa, who led demonstrations outside the NBC-TV in New York after it identified the alleged victim in the William Kennedy Smith case. She said protests will be held in New York.

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Ruth Jones, a staff attorney at NOW, told the AP that even though Tyson is innocent until proven guilty, she is disturbed that she sees him going about his life, having a “swell” old time.

“The defendant goes to parties and has a good time,” Jones said. “But the other part of it is the trauma the rape victim goes through. She gets hit in the face with this every day.”

A trial date will be set for sometime in the next 70 days ,which would be close to the time of Tyson’s scheduled fight. However, Modisett says he anticipates the standard legal delays that would push the trial to much later.


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