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Tyson Booked on Rape Charges

September 12, 1991 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Boxer Mike Tyson denied raping a beauty pageant contestant and said mingling with the public has put him ″in the position to become a victim.″

The 25-year-old former heavyweight champion was booked and fingerprinted Wednesday after a judge entered a plea of innocent to charges Tyson raped an 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant July 19.

The woman claims Tyson forced her to have sex after she refused his advances in his Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson has claimed the woman consented to sex.

″I didn’t hurt no one,″ he said at a news conference after his court appearance. ″I’m extremely worried about the situation, but I know I’m innocent.″

After posting $30,000 bail, Tyson returned to Las Vegas to resume training for his Nov. 8 title bout against Evander Holyfield. Trial was set for Jan. 27.

Tyson was charged Monday with rape, deviate conduct and confinement - the most serious in a string of allegations over the years that he has fondled or roughed up women. The charges carry up to 63 years in prison.

Tyson was in Indianapolis at the time of the alleged assault to make promotional appearances for the Indiana Black Expo and the beauty pageant.

″I put myself to blame for one fault ... I make myself vulnerable because I’m among the common people all the time,″ he said. ″That’s my frame of mind, and I put myself in the position to become a victim.″

David Hennessy, an attorney for the alleged victim, said: ″My response is that the victim and Mr. Tyson both testified before the grand jury and Mr. Tyson was indicted. Those are the facts, and they speak for themselves.″

During a five-minute court proceeding, the judge read Tyson the charges.

Tyson, dressed in a gray, pinstriped suit with a red and black necktie and handkerchief, sat impassively at the defense table with his hands folded in front of him. He stood once, to answer when Gifford asked for his birthdate.

In the last two years, Tyson has been sued for sexual harassment by a former aide to Robin Givens, his ex-wife, and faces another suit by Rosie Jones, a former Miss Black America, who claimed Tyson fondled her buttocks.

″I love women. My mother’s a woman,″ said Tyson. ″Unfortunately, every time I get involved with one in a certain way like this, something happens.″


Outside the courthouse, a group of Guardian Angels picketed, urging Tyson put off the title fight while the case is pending.

Tyson is expected to make $15 million from the bout.

″Why shouldn’t I be able to fight? This is how I earn my living,″ he said.