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‘Southern Charm’ Star Thomas Ravenel Arrested Following Sexual Assault Allegation

The former politician and reality TV star has been accused of sexually assaulting two women, charges he denies. 

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Former politician and reality TV star Thomas Ravenel was arrested this week for assault and battery in the second degree in relation to recent accusations that he'd sexually assaulted his children's nanny three years ago, according to authorities. 

Charleston police said in a sworn statement obtained by the Associated Press that the department was in posession of photos revealing the injuries Ravenel allegedly caused to his victim when he tried to remove her clothes by force. 

Ravenel, 56, was taken into custody on Tuesday at around 10 a.m., according to Charleston County Jail records. He was released from custody that same day, records show. A court date has not been listed.

During Tuesday's bond hearing, a judge ordered Ravenel to remain in South Carolina, relinquish his passport, and avoid making any contact with the victim, Live 5 News reporter Harve Jacobs tweeted. The judge also granted him a $20,000 personal recongizance bond, Jacobs reported, meaning that Ravenel was not required to pay any amount of money before his release.

Ravenel, who formerly served as the state treasurer of South Carolina, was a cast member on Bravo’s “Southern Charm” for five seasons before allegations surfaced that he’d sexually assaulted his children’s former caretaker, “Nanny Dawn,” People first reported.

Bravo has confirmed Ravenel will not be returning to the show.

Police launched an investigation in May into the alleged January 2015 assault, People reports. Dawn, whose real last name has not been released, initially remained anonymous until coming forward with her story later that month, alleging in an interview with People that Ravenel sexually assaulted her in the master bedroom of his home while his toddler daughter was asleep in the same room. Ravenel later apologized and “promised” that it would never happen again, Dawn told People.

“Although I believe he should be in jail for his crimes, the reality according to statistics is that he will go unpunished,” she said. “I feel the only justice I will receive is to share my story in the efforts to educate the public and support assault survivors.”

The same month that Dawn went public with her story, a real estate agent named Ashley Perkins alleged in an interview with People weeks earlier that Ravenel sexually assaulted her mother, Debbie Holloway Perkins, in December 2015 after the two met on Tinder and went on a date together. Perkins claimed that her mother “acted very withdrawn” after returning from her outing with Ravenel, and later told her that Ravenel had taken her to his home that night, where he pushed her onto the bed, forcibly penetrated her with his fingers, and “stuck his penis in [her] face.”

Following the alleged assault, her mother hired an attorney and reached a $200,000 settlement with Ravenel, Perkins told People.

Ravenel denied all allegations against him via a statement from his attorney, Richard P. Terbrusch, People reports.

“My client enjoys a certain degree of fame, which has unfortunately made him a vulnerable target for such claims. The person this woman describes is simply not the man that I know,” Terbrusch said. “My client is a loving father, successful businessman, and upright member of the community. He is appalled and hurt by these allegations — and is committed to defending his reputation in the appropriate legal forum.”

While her mother signed a non-disclosure agreement, preventing her from ever speaking publicly about the alleged incident, Perkins herself did not, she said. She decided to share her mother’s story in the hopes of inspiring other survivors.

“This is bigger than my mom. This is bigger than me. I would like to let … other women know that Thomas is not invincible,” she said. “Or even just women who are against powerful men and think they can’t do anything. I want them to know, you can.”

Ravenel's brushes with the law are not limited to the recent sexual assault accusations levied against him. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2014 and had his license suspended for six months as a result, the Associated Press reports. Prior to that, during his seven-month term as treasurer of South Carolina in 2007, he was arrested for purchasing cocaine and spent 10 months in prison after pleading guilty, the outlet reports.

[Photo: Charleston County Jail]

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