Police seize videos from MTV reality TV house after woman claims rape

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The Independent US

Police in San Diego hope multiple rolling cameras on the set of a Big Brother-type reality show could provide vital clues, and perhaps even directly incriminating videotape evidence, in an unusual case of suspected rape, according to court documents.

The police investigation stems from the claims of a 22-year-old woman who alleges that she was taken against her will to an oceanfront home being used as the set of the MTV show Real World, and sexually assaulted.

The woman, whose name has not been released, said she met a man at a downtown night club and fell unconscious after he offered her a drink. When she awoke the next morning, she was lying fully dressed in a guest bedroom inside the house feeling groggy and disoriented.

The alleged perpetrator, named in court papers as "Justin", without a last name, was said to be a friend of one of the participants in the show.

The woman experienced pain and leakage in the genital area, and a subsequent medical examination showed she had suffered cuts and other injuries. A man who has also spoken to police said he had found the woman naked on the floor of a bathroom and, with the help of a female crew member on the show, dressed her and moved her into the bedroom.

Some 30 cameras have been set up inside the house, but the bathroom suspected of being the scene of the assault was not one of the areas under 24-hour video surveillance.Police have seized hours of tape, as well as bed sheets, pillowcases, towels, couch cushions and computers. They told the judge who approved a search warrant that they wanted to pick up "trace evidence" they could find.

Police sought the search warrant after MTV's lawyers turned down their request to search the premises. Although it appears that a number of employees on the show knew about the suspected rape, police testimony in the court documents suggests none of them went to the police and only gave testimony after police contacted them. MTV has since claimed it is co-operating with the investigation, but has not commented on the case. No arrests have been made.

MTV has aired 13 seasons of Real World, which documents the lives of seven strangers living together. Real World San Diego is still in production.