Police in Charleston, South Carolina have conducted numerous interviews, collected extensive evidence and are pursuing multiple leads as they investigate allegations of sexual assault involving disgraced politician/ reality television star Thomas Ravenel.
In fact we’re told several key pieces of evidence – including a cell phone loaded with what one source called “incriminating data” – are in the process of being turned over to detectives leading the investigation.
Additionally, police have reportedly received information from more than one source related to alleged efforts by Ravenel to obstruct the investigation – including attempts to get one of his accusers to “back down.”
None of that sounds particularly promising for the 55-year-old former state treasurer and star of the hit Bravo TV reality television show, Southern Charm, who is currently staring down a pair of assault allegations.
Not surprisingly, several sources who have communicated with Ravenel in the past week tell us he is not handling the situation well at all.
“He’s wiggin out,” a source who spoke with scandal-scarred playboy last week told us. “Talking all kinds of crazy. Alluding to the idea of suicidal-type thoughts.”
Ravenel has told multiple confidants he is fearful of returning to jail – an outcome he described to them as a “death sentence.”
Ravenel spent ten months in a federal prison back in 2008 after pleading guilty to drug charges. He has not been charged in connection with any of the sexual assault allegations against him – nor is it immediately clear whether he will be charged.
While the allegations against Ravenel are indeed serious (and credible), proving them in a court of law is obviously a different kettle of fish. Ultimately a decision on whether to move forward with charges against Ravenel will be made by S.C. ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
That decision could take weeks if not months, depending on where the case takes investigators …
How did we get here?
Ten days ago, this news site exclusively reported on the Charleston police department‘s investigation into Ravenel. Last week, guest columnist Amy Feinstein published an exclusive interview with Nanny Dawn – the woman who met with detectives last Monday.
Nanny Dawn’s story has since exploded – including feature stories in People and The Daily Mail.
Prior to that, on April 14 this news site exclusively reported on allegations raised (and reinforced) by Florida-based model and real estate agent Ashley Perkins – who has been waging a social media crusade aimed at exposing an alleged sexual assault .
According to the 29-year-old, 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 Perkins’ mother, a 53-year-old Florida real estate agent.
Ravenel has declined to comment for our stories, however he has previously issued a blanket denial in response to any allegation of sexual assault against a woman.
“I’ve never assaulted a woman in my life,” he told us last month.
Ravenel was elected treasurer of South Carolina in 2006, but was forced to step down the following year after being arrested on drug charges. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2004 as a “Republican” and again in 2014 as a petition candidate.
Bravo TV and Haymaker – the company which produces Southern Charm – claim to be “investigating” the allegations against Ravenel, but so far all they appear to have done is issue a gag order to cast members prohibiting them from speaking publicly about the situation.
That’s not surprising. Last December, Bravo TV attempted to remove from the internet an interview featuring Ravenel and Charleston, S.C. based independent journalist Quintin Washington.
In that conversation, Ravenel told Washington he would never “behave ungentlemanly” toward a woman. However, he also extensively discussed “secret settlements” related to sexual assault claims – exactly the sort of settlement he is alleged to have entered into with Perkins’ mother two years ago.
“You hear about these secret, um, settlements you know … some woman may come out and say ‘hey, you made an unwarranted advance,’” Ravenel told Washington. “And they guy may say ‘well I didn’t really do anything, you know, I didn’t do anything untoward however I will pay you to make it so – so you don’t make an allegation.’ Just the mere hint of an allegation could destroy someone.”
Stay tuned … we will continue to bring our readers the latest on the Ravenel investigation as it progresses.
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