Media coverage on date rape drugs was sparse in the early 1990s. There was one high profile story involving Rophynol in March 1994; and that was the near fatal overdose of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. He had combined roofies and champagne in what appeared to have been an accidental O.D. Tragically Cobain was found dead, apparently by his own hand, a month later.
News coverage on roofies continued sporadically until 1996 when it exploded. The potential for the drug to be used in date rape was a hot topic for women’s magazines and magazines geared toward teenage girls. Oprah Winfrey was one of many TV talk show hosts who covered the dangers of date rape drugs. Discussion of the the drugs wasn’t confined to talk shows; scripted shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and South Park also weighed in. Women were warned never to leave a drink unattended and to avoid punch bowls at parties.
It may have been the heightened awareness of the existence of date rape drugs that brought the law to the Spitzer’s front door in mid-1996.
On July 9, 1996, 36-year-old flight attendant Kimberly B had a few days off between flights. She was with friends at a sidewalk café in Marina del Rey when she met Stefan and George Spitzer.
George, who introduced himself as Gino, struck up a conversation with Kimberly in the parking lot of the café. He asked her if she was interested in having an authentic Italian dinner with an authentic Italian. Kimberly was intrigued because she was planning a trip to Italy. Maybe the guy could offer insider tips on where to stay and what to see. They exchanged phone numbers.
Kimberly heard from George later that day and they arranged to meet at a local Starbuck’s at 8:00 p.m. The couple went to Jake and Annie’s restaurant where George ordered a bottle of wine and proceeded to regale his date with increasingly unbelievable tales—like how the movie “The Godfather” was based on his dad. Then he told her he had a Ph.D. in psychology and, among his other amazing accomplishments, he was Raquel Welch’s personal trainer.
Kimberly easily saw through George’s lies, and it didn’t take long before she had had enough. She knew that there would not be a second date and took immediate steps to put the excruciating evening to an end. She told George she had to be home by 11:00 p.m. to relieve the babysitter who was watching her 6-year-old daughter. And then she watched the clock.
The kitchen at Jake and Annie’s restaurant was closing so the pair went a couple of blocks over to the World Café where they had dinner and wine. Kimberly had one glass. Following dinner Kimberly reminded George that she had to be home by 11. At 10:00 she excused herself to go to the ladies’ room. She was waiting in line when George came up to her and asked her how long she would be—she was away for about 10 minutes before returning to the table. She was relieved that her date with the tedious blowhard would soon be over. With any luck at all she would be home by 10:30.
Kimberly awakened at 5:45 a.m. the next morning and couldn’t get her bearings. The room was spinning. She tried to shake the cobwebs out of her head. She looked around expecting to be in her own bedroom, but she was naked and in bed with George. What the hell had happened? She remembered nothing after the restaurant. Dazed and moving in slow motion Kimberly quietly dressed and left the apartment. It was a miracle she made it home without incident.
She ran into George later that day and asked him point blank if they’d had sex. He denied it. She didn’t believe him.
Kimberly went to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Marina del Rey substation. She told deputies that she was certain that a creep who called himself Gino Sorrelle had slipped Rohypnol into her wine glass during dinner the previous night and she wanted to file a complaint. She was taken to a nearby hospital for a rape kit. Semen was found in Kimberly’s vagina and rectum.
Sheriff’s investigators secured a warrant to search the Spitzer’s apartment and they uncovered over 20 videotapes. The tapes showed 12 different women, who appeared to be under the influence, being raped. The rapist wasn’t immediately identified. Dealing with identical twins presents law enforcement with unique problems. The investigators also found 20 boxes of Rohypnol. Is there any legitimate reason for private citizens to have that much Rophynol on hand?
George was arrested on August 7, 1996 and Stefan was arrested a few weeks later. Each of them was held on $2 million bail.
The circus was about to begin.
NEXT TIME: Would the twins finally be held accountable?