This news outlet recoiled last week upon hearing the news that disgraced politician and former reality television star Thomas Ravenel received no jail time and a $500 fine for what was allegedly a violent sexual assault four years ago.
Compared to that, the sentence he received was nothing …
We blasted the “justice” dispensed to Ravenel as an “utterly undeserved display of leniency,” arguing the 57-year-old playboy was being punished for the “equivalent of a traffic violation after admitting in open court that he made unwanted sexual advances against his children’s former nanny,” Dawn Ledwell.
Were we too harsh on Ravenel, though? Possibly …
Documents obtained in connection with this controversial plea deal offer some revealing insights into this case … including why the office of ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson may have decided to offer a reduced plea to Ravenel (which essentially handcuffed S.C. circuit court judge Bentley Price in terms of sentencing).
The most surprising revelation? Ravenel’s victim agreed with the plea – an acquiescence she apparently made after the multi-millionaire developer made a donation in her name to People Against Rape, a Charleston, S.C. based nonprofit that bills itself as a “sexual assault advocacy program offering free support and services for survivors of sexual assault in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties of South Carolina.”
(Click to view)
This donation will help fund “important work for victims and survivors of sexual assault,” according to Ledwell (above).
In an affidavit signed on July 19, 2019, Ledwell affirmed that “while (Ravenel’s) memory differs in critical ways from my own regarding the incident, I accept Thomas’ apology for his unwarranted physical contact … and I believe him when he says he never intended to sexually assault me.”
Ledwell added that when Ravenel was “not drinking” or “not upset over his latest row” with former girlfriend Kathryn Dennis, “he was a loving father.”
(Click to view)
(Via: Getty Images)
In fact, Ledwell claimed it was Dennis (above) who helped convince her to come forward with the sexual assault allegation against Ravenel – an admission we suspect will be leveraged by Ravenel in his ongoing custody case with Dennis, the mother of his two young children.
“In the spring of 2018, when stories began emerging in the press about Thomas Ravenel and other women, and after Kathryn Dennis and friends reached out to me, encouraging me to come forward, I ultimately recognized the incident as sexual assault,” Ledwell wrote.
This news outlet was the first to report on those allegations last April.
“While I have accepted Thomas Ravenel’s settlement and public apology, I do not believe the incident should be ignored within the legal system,” Ledwell continued in the document.
Accordingly, she noted that “I will recommend to the ninth circuit solicitor’s office that they resolve this matter with a plea from Thomas Ravenel to assault and battery in the third degree.”
Ledwell praised the solicitor’s office and the city of Charleston police department for “their thorough investigation and professionalism.”
“I never pursued this case for notoriety or to take advantage of Thomas Ravenel’s wealth and fame,” Ledwell concluded.
Here is a copy of her affidavit …Ledwell-Affidavit
It is the affidavit of Ravenel, though, that we believe provides even deeper insight into this case.
Signed on the same day as Ledwell’s affidavit – July 19, 2019 – the document seems to reinforce many of the claims made by the former nanny in her civil suit against him, NBC Universal, Comcast, and Haymaker, the company which produces Southern Charm.
“Kathryn and I were paid participants in a reality television show, Southern Charm; as part of the show we were contractually obligated to participate in extended periods of time during which our private lives were recorded while we engaged in both scripted and spontaneous activities under the direction of the show’s producers,” Ravenel wrote. “Southern Charm producers sought to elicit entertaining story lines in a variety of ways, including encouraging participants to participate in public and private gatherings in which alcohol and other intoxicants were in copious supply. Numerous story lines revolved around the show’s stars, including Kathryn and me, being or appearing to be intoxicated.”
“This was encouraged, not discouraged, by producers,” Ravenel added.
Ledwell’s civil suit claimed that corporate defendants “created, permitted and encouraged Southern Charm plot lines that focus on alcohol, sexual encounters, and the concept that male cast members, including (Ravenel), suffer from ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ and they are the ‘Lost Boys’ and Charleston (S.C.) is their ‘Neverland.’”
Ravenel’s affidavit is basically helping her make this case …
Ledwell’s suit also claimed Southern Charm’s producers “failed to investigate” sexual abuse allegations against Ravenel – which is consistent with what our sources have told us.
Ravenel’s affidavit does not address that claim, however it does state that he “discussed this matter with numerous people within the Haymaker and Bravo enterprises.”
How he chooses to elaborate on that statement could have far-reaching implications in Ledwell’s civil suit.
As for the sexual assault allegation at the heart of this case, Ravenel wrote in his affidavit that “while I reiterate that I have never intentionally sexually assaulted anyone, I … acknowledge that by making an unwelcome advance to Dawn in my home, while she was babysitting my daughter, I behaved improperly and caused her immediate and lasting emotional distress.”
“I unqualifiedly apologize for having done so,” Ravenel continued. “She has asked that rather than pay any money to her in settlement of her claims, I make a donation in her name to the charity of her choice, and I have gladly done so.”
Here is his affidavit …Ravenel-Affidavit
What do we make of all this?
Obviously, this is a lot to unpack but the basic takeaway seems pretty clear to us: In light of these affidavits, Ravenel clearly does not seem inclined to hurt (and may actually wind up helping) Ledwell in her ongoing civil case against NBC Universal, Comcast and Haymaker. Meanwhile, Ledwell clearly does not appear inclined to hurt (and may wind up helping) Ravenel in his ongoing custody case against Dennis.
Crazy? Yes. But we have seen crazier in the aftermath of similar allegations against Ravenel.
Bottom line? Once again the off-screen drama related to Southern Charm is vastly superior to what is taking place on-screen.
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