In case you missed it, earlier this week our news site exclusively reported on some seismic sexual assault allegations leveled against Thomas Ravenel – the star of Bravo TV’s Southern Charm reality television show.
According to the 29-year-old (below), she was present for a mediation hearing at the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel in June of 2016 in which Ravenel settled a sexual assault allegation involving her mother – a 53-year-old Florida real estate agent. This news site was able to link Perkins’ tweets describing what she says happened to her mother with a series of social media messages sent by the alleged victim to a Southern Charm cast member back in December 2015 – in the immediate aftermath of the alleged attack.
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To read our original report with all of the documentation, click here.
Since our story was published, it has driven plenty of discussion on social media … and resulted in mainstream media coverage of Ravenel’s threat to sue us (which he has yet to follow through with, incidentally).
Ravenel has not addressed the issue publicly. His Connecticut counsel, Richard P. Terbrusch, has referred to the allegations raised by Perkins and her mother as “reckless, false and defamatory.”
“One can only speculate on her motives, but rest assured once the instant rush of social media wears off and the potential of very real legal consequences sets in, such rashness will be regretted,” he told us earlier this week.
We reached out to Perkins this week in the hopes of hearing directly from her about what prompted her to come forward. We posed six different questions to her, and received the following answers …
FITSNews: Let’s get right to it, Ashley. You dropped quite a bombshell last week with your tweets accusing reality television star and former South Carolina treasurer Thomas Ravenel of settling a sexual assault case involving your mother two years ago. Before we get into the details of those claims, tell us what made you decide to come forward?
ASHLEY PERKINS: I had zero plans of ever communicating directly or indirectly with Thomas Ravenel until last week. I was walking through the living room and saw a promo for Southern Charm. Something about seeing the smug look on his face and his exaggerated swagger just hit me the wrong way. All I could think was about the damage he caused my mother emotionally and the toll his actions took on her personally. My Mom will never be the same trusting person again and I blame him for this. When I saw his smug face on the (television) carrying on with his life completely unaffected by his actions, I guess I saw red.
Watching victims daily on television who are coming forth with abuse charges against powerful men not only has inspired movements such as Times Up and #MeToo but it also inspired ME. I hope by sharing her story that other women will feel empowered to come forth and not allow powerful men to hold them back.
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FITSNews: Tell us about the mediation you say you participated in back in 2016. How did it come about? Who was there?
ASHLEY PERKINS: Gloria Allred, my mother’s main attorney, wanted my mother and I to fly to New York City for the mediation but my mother could not be in the same room as Thomas Ravenel for the mediation so we conducted the mediation over Skype. My mother, one of Gloria Allred’s attorneys, Renee Mochkatel and I met at the Belmond hotel in Ms. Mochkatel’s suite for the meeting. My mother was suffering from severe anxiety attacks at this time and did not want to fly or be in the presence of her “alleged” attacker.
Thomas Ravenel, his attorneys and my mother’s two other attorneys, Gloria Allred and Nathan Goldberg met in New York City for the mediation. A mediator was also present but I do not recall his name.
The mediation went on for hours before a settlement was reached which was in the six figure range.
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FITSNews: You have said you were exposed to some pretty graphic allegations during the course of the mediation. We know this is probably not easy for you to do, but can you walk us through those allegations? What did you hear, specifically? What did Thomas Ravenel allegedly do to your mother on their “date?”
ASHLEY PERKINS: Obviously, I was not present at Thomas Ravenel’s house on Beaufain Street nor was I present at the guest house (the location of the alleged attack). All of my information comes from what I heard and observed during the many hours of mediation at the Belmond Charleston Place. Everything, other than what I heard and observed at mediation, I learned about prior to (my mother signing a non-disclosure agreement).
Let’s just say that I heard things that I will never erase from my memory. First of all, their “date” was supposed to be drinks at a downtown bar but Thomas surprises my mom with a “visit” to his new home that had just undergone renovations. HE SAID that since my mom was a realtor that he thought she would enjoy seeing the grand renovations to the home. My Mom, agreed to go in to view the property with the understanding that they would then leave for drinks.
Thomas spends a LONG TIME showing off his new house without even really communicating with my Mom. She was getting bored and wanted to leave for drinks. He suggested that first she see his guest house.
Keep in mind, the guest house is where the nanny and his children LIVED. They did not live with him in the BIG HOUSE at this time. When they entered the guest house, nobody was home. He showed her the little girl’s room and then he proceeded to tell my Mom that his new son, would be sleeping in the BATHROOM in the laundry closet – I am assuming they were going to renovate this in some fashion. So while Thomas is living in grandeur in his million dollar house, his kids and the nanny were shacking up in the guest house. NICE!
They then proceed to the nanny’s room and Thomas, behaving in a VERY BIZARRE fashion, stares out the window. My Mom is concerned they are being followed by someone. He spends no less than ten minutes opening and closing the blinds and peeking out the window. She asks Thomas what he is doing and he tells her to come look. When she looks out the window, she sees another house, not realizing it is Thomas’s main house. From her vantage point, she could see a large bathroom. Thomas tells her that THERE is WHERE IT HAPPENED. She obviously wants to know WHAT and he tells her that is where he saw his ex, Kathryn Dennis, making out with another man. My mom said he appeared in a dissociated state and she turns to leave the room.
He approaches her from behind and grabs her and begins to roughly kiss her. He then throws her on the nanny’s bed and grabs her by her wrists restraining her with one of his hands. He roughly gropes her – her breast, her vagina and her anus. Then while still holding her down with one hand and his body weight, he pulls his pants down and shoves his penis in her face.
As all of this is happening, my mom, who has panic attacks and is extremely claustrophobic, is freaking out and screaming and crying for him to stop. She said it was like he was in a trance and didn’t even hear her. She finally hit full panic mode and screamed at him and called him a rapist.
Apparently, this is a TRIGGER WORD for Thomas as he immediately stopped, hopped off the bed and pulled up his pants. My mother was already at the door heading out of the guest house. She said she was in shock and felt as though she was having an out of body experience. She was so out of it emotionally – hysterically crying and screaming. At this moment, she said she knew he wasn’t going to rape her because he was out of his “trance state” and she demanded he take her home immediately where I met her outside. She had called me from the car and told me to be waiting for her.
After she arrived home, she was in such a state of shock, she wasn’t even processing information. I told her we needed to call the police but she said she would never be like the victim in the William Kennedy Smith trial. I had no idea who she was talking about and I thought she had lost her mind. I finally convinced her at some point to let me photograph her wrists in case she ever changed her mind.
There are so many details and events that I can’t possible share all of them here but let’s just say it was ugly.
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FITSNews: You and your mother left South Carolina in the aftermath of this alleged assault. Tell us why. What made you leave the Palmetto State?
ASHLEY PERKINS: My mother sought mental help in the aftermath of the attack and was treated for panic attacks and depression. She remains on these medications today. During mediation, we found out that Thomas had our car under GPS surveillance and that we were followed. They found nothing interesting. The highlight was probably our weekly grocery trip or going to Seacoast Church on Saturday nights. So even today, my mother is paranoid that we are being followed.
My mother couldn’t sleep during the time after the attack and her panic attacks almost evolved into full agoraphobia, where you can’t leave your house at all. It was at this time that we made the decision to get out of Charleston. My mother’s happiest memories were from her childhood when she vacationed with her parents on the Gulf Coast so we decided this would be a great place to start over with a new life.
YET, even after moving eight hours away from Thomas Ravenel, he still managed to ruin another Christmas week for her. In late December, almost to the “alleged” assault anniversary, she received a phone call from him. She declined this call and to this day we have no idea what words he had in store for her. Seriously though, in my opinion, this HAD to be planned – almost on the anniversary date? I can NOT believe this is a mere coincidence. In my opinion, he was calling to torture her again – and as I said it’s my opinion and I’m entitled.
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FITSNews: As you are no doubt aware, attorneys for Thomas Ravenel have threatened to sue you. Have you heard from them yet? Are you worried about him coming after you legally?
ASHLEY PERKINS: I am aware that Thomas Ravenel’s attorneys have threatened me and have stated that basically I am a liar and my claims are defamatory. Every word I have said is TRUE and there is no defamation. I am not under an NDA and my mother has not violated hers. As a matter of fact, she is very upset with me right now but I wanted her story told despite her objections. I tell her nothing and she knows nothing about what is taking place presently.
If Thomas wants to pursue legal action against me, I am ready for it. The truth will stand when the world is on fire, right! I would love for the world to hear every nasty detail of the night Thomas Ravenel tortured my mother and scarred her for life.
If my mom’s story was so lacking in the first place, why would you settle for six figures? I sure wouldn’t!
In my opinion, Thomas Ravenel is guilty and this is why he settled. I base my OPINION on all of the facts and details that I have learned since December 25, 2015.
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FITSNews: A few Twitter trolls have accused you of using the publicity associated with all of this to advance your modeling career. How do you respond to those critics?
ASHLEY PERKINS: I am accustomed to trolls and I basically just scroll on by when checking my social media. I am 29 years old and I’m pretty sure my modeling career is and will always be a hobby for me. I am a licensed Realtor and that is my career. Modeling is fun and something I enjoy doing. I’m not quite sure how discussing NASTY sexual assault acts would benefit me as a model but whatever! Trolls will be trolls and they don’t bother me in the slightest.
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Stay tuned … obviously there will be much more to come on this story …
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