“Southern Charm” star Thomas Ravenel was accused for the second time of sexual assault, this time by a woman who claimed to be a nanny for him, in what she called one of the most stressful nanny jobs to date.
DailyMail reports that, Dawn Ledwell, who appeared on Bravo’s “Southern Charm” show as “Nanny Dawn,” stated that when she learned another woman came forward with accusations that 55-year-old Thomas Ravenel sexually assaulted her, it gave her the strength needed to tell her side of the story. Ledwell said she felt powerless and “silenced” until she learned Ravenel had reportedly assaulted others.
“I can describe it as grief and something that I have suppressed and been struggling with for years,” Dawn told DailyMail.
The former nanny filed a report on May 7 with the Charleston Police Department after the daughter of another reported victim spoke publicly about a alleged sexual incident, claiming that Ravenel assaulted her mother in 2015. The mother later signed an NDA and accepted $20,000 for her silence.
Down 90 pounds and proud of it! pic.twitter.com/DCKlafgdTE
— Dawn (@Retroluvin) January 25, 2017
“I was outraged because I found out then that I was not an isolated incident. I had blamed myself, like many victims do, [but I realized then] that it wasn’t my fault. It was his fault. He’s the perpetrator.”
According to Dawn, Ravenel assaulted her in January 2015 when his daughter, Kensie, was still an infant. Ravenel had recently split with the baby’s mother, Kathryn Dennis, who was 22 at the time. Dawn said he called her over to watch Kensie while he attended a dinner party with friends, but he returned home drunk. While she was washing the baby’s bottles and cleaning up, Ravenal allegedly turned the lights off.
Dawn said she asked him to turn the lights back on so she could see to finish cleaning up, but Ravenel reportedly ignored her, then walked up to her and started kissing her. Although she declined his advances, Ravenel reportedly forced himself on her.
“He turned out the lights when he came in which basically shut off all the lights on that floor. I asked him to turn the lights back on because I couldn’t see what I was doing. He did not. And without hesitation, he came up to me and made advances, tried to kiss me. I turned my head because I didn’t want him to do that. He tried to hug me and my hands were full, I had the baby bottles, so I couldn’t push him away but I told him, ‘No.'”
Dawn said she asked Ravenel to go “lie down” and told him she needed to leave, according to People. As she went upstairs to grab her jacket, the incident escalated.
“I went upstairs to get my jacket which had the key to my vehicle in the pocket. I was corralled into the master bedroom and he shut the door behind me. I turned around and he had his pants dropped, not wearing underwear,” Dawn told People. “He was blocking the door. I was mortified, embarrassed, and scared.”
Dawn said she eventually freed herself and left, but not before Ravenel tried to strangle her with her shirt in an attempt to prevent her from leaving.
— Vanderpump Rules (@VanderpumpRules) May 6, 2018
As she drove home, Dawn called several family members and explained what happened. When she arrived home, her daughter took photos of her injuries and consoled Dawn.
“I heard her come in and go to her room and I went in there to check on her and she told me that Thomas had attacked her and she basically explained what happened – how he made advances on her, trying to kiss her and how he grabbed her,” Dawn’s daughter, Adara, told DailyMail. “She showed me where he had left scratches and marks around her neck and in between her thighs and her back.”
“I was very young at the time and it was just horrible seeing my mother like that.”
Yet, after the reported attack, Dawn continued to work with Ravenel for another year. She said she understood that the since she stayed on as the nanny it could hurt her credibility, but she explained she felt ashamed and conflicted.
Dawn said she didn’t know whether she did something to bring about the incident. She accused Ravenel of being a bully and she was afraid of what he would do. She also claimed that although he later apologized to her and told her it wouldn’t happen again, Ravenel reportedly recanted when she told Dennis about the incident, and later “butt dialed” her while he called her “fat and disgusting” to others.
“I knew his tactics and what he does to bully other people. He might hire private investigators to follow people and put GPS trackers on their cars and do that to family members. I was afraid of all that.”
Dawn left her job in 2016 but refused to sign an NDA. She indicated that she’s unsure if Ravenel will serve time behind bars, but she wants him off of the hit reality show “Southern Charm” and she wants other women to know what she went through.
“Although I believe he should be in jail for his crimes, the reality according to statistics is that he will go unpunished,” Dawn told People. “I feel the only justice I will receive is to share my story in the efforts to educate the public and support assault survivors.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ravenel’s attorney, Richard P. Terbrusch, told People that since his client “enjoyed a certain amount of fame,” he’s the target of claims that simply aren’t true.
Last week, Haymaker, the company that produces “Southern Charm” on Bravo, started looking into the sexual assault claims again Ravenel. Bravo released a statement on Friday, announcing the investigation.
“Haymaker, the production company for Southern Charm, and Bravo take allegations like these very seriously. Haymaker is conducting an investigation, and once all the information is gathered and carefully reviewed, appropriate action will be taken.”
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Thomas Ravenel via AP/Jeffrey Collins]