Former “Southern Charm” star Thomas Ravenel will be heading to trial over sexual assault accusations that reportedly occurred between him and a former nanny.
People reports that South Carolina Judge Stephen Harris determined there was enough probable cause to send Ravenel’s case to trial after a hearing Monday morning in Charleston. Ravenel, 56, is charged with second degree assault and battery.
Although Ravenel didn’t show up for the probable cause hearing, the reported victim, who went by “Nanny Dawn” on the Bravo show, was there. Ravenel’s lawyer showed up on his behalf and argued that the accusations are a case of “he said, she said.”
A trial date has not yet been set.
We are hearing graphic testimony from a @CharlestonPD detective in the preliminary hearing for Thomas Ravenel. Ravenel is charged with assault and battery second degree. #chsnews pic.twitter.com/tzSWYNTQli
— Harve Jacobs (@policereporter) November 5, 2018
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Dawn Ledwell, AKA “Nanny Dawn,” stated that when she learned another woman came forward with accusations that Ravenel sexually assaulted her as well, 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 allegedly assaulted others.
“I can describe it as grief and something that I have suppressed and been struggling with for years,” the former nanny told DailyMail.
Ledwell filed a report on May 7 with the Charleston Police Department after Ashley Perkins, daughter of the other victim, Debbie Holloway Perkins, spoke publicly about another alleged incident, claiming that Ravenel assaulted her mother in 2015. Debbie Perkins later signed an NDA and accepted $20,000 for her silence.
“I was outraged because I found out then that I was not an isolated incident,” Ledwell said. “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 Ledwell, 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. Ledwell said Ravenel called her over to watch Kensie while he attended a dinner party with friends. He later returned home drunk, according to Ledwell. While she was washing the baby’s bottles and cleaning up, Ravenal reportedly turned the lights off.
Ledwell said she asked him to turn the lights back on so she could see to finish cleaning up, but Ravenel 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.’”
Ledwell claimed 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,” Ledwell said. “He was blocking the door. I was mortified, embarrassed, and scared.”
— FITSNews.com 📡 (@fitsnews) May 10, 2018
The victim said she eventually freed herself and left, but not before a struggle broke out, which left her fighting to breathe.
“While inside the location, the defendant undressed and made sexual advances on the victim,” the affidavit against Ravenel read. “The defendant grabbed the victim’s hand and placed it on his penis before attempting to [remove] the victim’s clothing. While attempting to remove the victim’s clothing, the victim’s underwire bra cut into her skin and her shirt wrapped around her neck, which caused the victim to struggle to breathe.”
The affidavit also stated that Ravenel “did knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully violate SC Statue 16-3-600(D)(1), Assault and Battery in the Second Degree.”
As she drove home, Ledwell called several family members and explained what happened. When she arrived home, her daughter took photos of her injuries.
“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, said. “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.”
After the reported attack, Ledwell 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.
Ledwell 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 Ledwell told Dennis about the incident. She said he later “butt dialed” her purposely and she listened in 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.”
Ledwell 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 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.”
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.
In October, Terbrusch was killed in a New York plane crash, along with two other people.
Bravo confirmed that Ravenel has been taken off the cast list for “Southern Charm.”
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Thomas Ravenel/Police Handout]