Tyson on ropes after new sex attack claim

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Mike Tyson, unchastened by three years in jail for rape and unredeemed by his conversion to Islam, remains unable to control the demons within. So says a woman who claims that the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion sexually assaulted her in a Chicago nightclub on Sunday.

Police say they are investigating a complaint of criminal sexual assault against Tyson, who legitimately flattened British champion Frank Bruno in Las Vegas last month.

Tyson, who has made no comment about the allegation, has not been charged. A Chicago television station described the woman as a 25-year-old beautician from Indiana who, according to her lawyer, is frightened and wishes to keep her identity a secret.

The lawyer, Jerry Lee Peteet, did not provide details of the alleged assault but said his client called the police after her release from a Chicago hospital on Monday morning. "We're going to pursue the criminal avenue and also a civil case, " Mr Peteet said. "She's scared, upset, angry, hurt." The manager of The Clique nightclub has disputed the woman's claims.

Moody Andrews said that the woman, who had asked to be introduced to Tyson, had never been alone with the boxer on the night of the alleged incident.

"She was in an open space with Mike," Mr Andrews said. "Mike had two security guards that he didn't hire - that we hired. They were watching at all times, to make sure nothing was going to happen."

It was a curious way for Mr Andrews to fight Tyson's corner, the suggestion being that the bodyguards were there not so much to protect Tyson, as to protect others from him.

Muhammad Siddeeq, Tyson's spiritual adviser, came up with what might prove to be a more convincing defence.

"I know one thing," said Mr Siddeeq, who attended a Muslim prayer service with Tyson on Sunday morning. "Every time Mike turns, or moves, there's people out there who want to do their thing. I give no credence to this report."

Tyson was convicted in 1992 of raping Desiree Washington, a college student and Miss Black America contestant. He never repented, nor did he ever admit his guilt, but he was released on parole 12 months ago after serving three years of a six-year sentence. He is on probation until 1999.