Oscar Winner Facing Sex Charges an Apparent Suicide

An Academy Award-winning songwriter who was awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting about a dozen women was believed to have killed himself in an apartment on the Upper East Side, the police said.

The body of Joseph Brooks, 73, was found by the police shortly after noon on Sunday at 130 East 63rd Street; it was unclear how long his body had been there.

Mr. Brooks wrote the hit “You Light Up My Life,” which won the Oscar for best song for 1977. He was arrested in 2009 on charges of sexually assaulting aspiring actresses whom he recruited from around the country through ads on Craigslist and a talent Web site. The authorities have said that he suggested that he could help the alleged victims’ acting careers.

Mr. Brooks was found with a plastic bag around his head, the police said. A helium tank with a connecting hose may have also played a role in his death, the police added.

In December, a son of Mr. Brooks’s, Nicholas Brooks, 24, was charged with murdering his girlfriend, a swimsuit designer, in a room at the SoHo House, a private club in Manhattan.

A lawyer who represented Mr. Brooks and his son could not be immediately reached for comment.

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