Police search for person who drugged skater

May 23, 2008 5:35:22 PM PDT
Authorities on Friday searched for a man charged with giving a date-rape drug to former Olympic ice dancing gold medalist Oksana "Pasha" Grishuk. The two-time Olympic gold medalist said James R. Halstead of Santa Ana encouraged her to order a drink as they waited for a dinner table at the posh St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel in Orange County on April 12. He then encouraged her to finish it, she said, but she only took a few sips before the two moved to the dining room.

" Halstead, 61, of Santa Ana, was charged Wednesday with one felony count of administering a drug to Grishuk with the intent of having sex with her. He remained at large Friday. A message left at his home was not immediately returned.

" Grishuk said at a news conference that after she sipped a bit of the first drink she ordered a glass of red wine with dinner. When she began to feel ill, she said, she noticed the wine had become a cloudy white color and there was a partially dissolved pill in her glass.

" "I felt like I can't trust anybody at that moment," said Grishuk, 36. "I wasn't sure what is it. Am I going to die?"

" She said she left the table with the pill and contacted hotel security. She was hospitalized for five hours.

" The next day, Grishuk said, she called Halstead as authorities listened in. He said he had taken the potency pill Viagra while he was in the restroom that night, she recalled.

" "Putting all this together, there's no other thing he could have been thinking" other than having sex with her, Grishuk told reporters.

" Grishuk had known Halstead, an insurance salesman, for two years but was not romantically involved with him, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. The pair met to discuss starting a clothing and vitamin line, Amormino said.

" Authorities say Halstead has a criminal record, having pleaded guilty to bilking investors in the late 1990s. He also is named -- but not charged -- in a federal complaint filed last week against his former defense attorney and business partner. The complaint alleges an investment scheme to defraud about 150 investors of at least $20 million.

" Grishuk won gold medals for Russia in ice dancing in 1994 and 1998.

" Deputies initially said Grishuk's drinks had been spiked with the date-rape drug GHB. On Friday, Amormino said the drug was Nimetazepam, which is similar to GHB but usually found in Asia and Europe.

- Headlines at a glance


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