Southern Charm's Thomas Ravenel Accused of Sexual Assault, Allegedly Paid Accuser $200,000
Ashley Perkins claims that Thomas Ravenel sexually assaulted her mother while on a date in 2015; reality star has not commented
Real estate agent Ashley Perkins alleges to PEOPLE that her mother, Debbie Holloway Perkins, met Ravenel on dating app Tinder in October 2015 and went on a last-minute first date with him on Dec. 25 of that year. Ashley also detailed the allegations on her website last month.
(“My client enjoys a certain degree of fame and unfortunately has become – unfairly – a target for an individual who has, in my opinion, dubious motivations,” Ravenel’s attorney, Richard P. Terbrusch, tells PEOPLE in a statement.)
Ashley, 29, tells PEOPLE that she did not witness the alleged assault, but learned of it from her mother. “We lived in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He was going to pick her up and they were going to go out for drinks. She agreed to that.
“I helped her get ready – she wore a diamond tennis bracelet on her wrist. Her wrist was fine when she left the house. He left her voicemail saying he got lost on the way to pick her up. I thought he sounded a little inebriated.”
“She gets in the car with him and he changed plans. My mom was in real estate so he says, ‘Let me show my new house that just got renovated.’ She agreed,” Ashley claims.
Ravenel and Debbie soon after arrived at the reality star’s new home, where he gave allegedly her a tour and poured her a small glass of wine. The pair then proceeded to tour the guest house, where Ravenel’s nanny and two children — he shares daughter Kensie, 4, and son Saint, 2½ with ex-girlfriend and Southern Charm star Kathryn Dennis — live. (On Southern Charm, audiences have followed Ravenel and Dennis’ tumultuous on-again-off-again relationship during the first four seasons, including their messy custody battle. In July 2017, Ravenel was awarded full custody after Dennis went to rehab for a failed court-ordered drug test; she is now sober.)
Upon entering the nanny’s room, Debbie allegedly told Ashley that Ravenel started peeking out of the blinds and said, ” ‘Do you see that?’ He points to this bathroom that you can see from the nanny’s room. And he goes, ‘That’s where I caught [ex-girlfriend] Kathryn making out with some guy.’ My mom was like, ‘Okay.’ That’s when she said he went into this trance.”
“That’s when he turned on her. He pushes my mom onto the nanny’s bed, grabs her wrist with one hand, then he starts trying to pull her pants off. And she’s like ‘No, no, no, stop.’ He stuck his fingers inside of her vagina as well as her anus. She told me that he held her hands back with one arm and then pulled his penis out and shoved it in her face,” says Ashley.
“My mom is very claustrophobic – she screamed at him and said, ‘You’re a rapist.’ He stopped, jumped off of her and was like ‘out of his trance,’ ” Ashley claims.
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After the alleged attack, Ashley claims Ravenel told Debbie ” ‘to get yourself an Uber.’ ”
“My mom has never been in an Uber. She’s angry at this point. I was angry at her for doing this but she told him, ‘No you can drive me home.’ He did say to her on the car ride home, ‘You’re stupid to let me drive you home when I’m intoxicated.’ He admitted it,” Ashley claims. “And on the way home, he went off on her about how she wasn’t his type, he just asked her out to, pardon, but f— her. He brought up how she was old.”
That night, Ashley says her mother “acted very withdrawn” before she confided in her daughter that Ravenel ” ‘stuck his penis in my face.’ ”
“Her wrists were starting to look bad the next morning. I said, ‘We need to see who we’re dealing with.’ She didn’t want to do anything. She was scared to go to court. I said right now you don’t want to do anything, let me take a picture of your wrist. Let’s get some evidence in case you want to do something,” says Ashley.
According to Ashley, Debbie contacted a friend who was a lawyer and described the alleged situation. He advised her to get an attorney, she says.
Debbie proceeded to get in touch with attorney Gloria Allred, who allegedly took on the case. On June 1, 2016, Debbie and Ashley participated in mediation. According to Ashley, she never signed a non-disclosure agreement, but her mother did. (“Someone messed up … someone dropped the ball and at that point, I knew I could talk,” says Ashley.)
Allred declined to comment when contacted by PEOPLE.
“We met at Belmont Charleston Place Hotel in her suite. Thomas wanted to do this in New York City. My mom was terrified of being in the same room as him. She didn’t want to fly. She has anxiety because of him. So Thomas was in New York with Gloria, her partner and Thomas’ attorney Richard Terbrusch. The whole mediation was done via something like Skype,” claims Ashley. “I was there the whole time and heard every detail.”
“They ended up settling for $200,000,” Ashley alleges.
RELATED VIDEO: Kathryn Dennis Returns From Rehab During the Season Premiere of ‘Southern Charm’
Since the alleged sexual assault occurred nearly two-and-a-half years ago, Debbie and Ashley have moved away from Charleston and are now living in Florida.
“After living in Charleston for 20 years, my mom, after they settled, she wanted to get away from Charleston, away from him,” Ashley says. “She wanted to move to Panama City Beach, Florida, because that’s where she used to vacation as a kid.”
“When something like this happens, it doesn’t just affect the victim but everyone around them. That’s why I came forward when I found out that I didn’t have to keep my mouth shut. I don’t think it’s right, a lot of people disagree with me because she ‘settled,’ but it drives me crazy that he’s out on television – some of the things he’s said on TV about women, he should be off Bravo in my opinion,” Ashley shares.
Although the alleged sexual assault was a painful experience for the mother and daughter, Ashley decided to share her mom’s story to help other women in similar situations.
“This is bigger than my mom. This is bigger than me. I would like to let… other women know that Thomas is not invincible. Or even just women who are against powerful men and think they can’t do anything. I want them to know, you can. I would like to see him off of Bravo,” she tells PEOPLE. “I would like for my mom not to have to worry about flipping on the television and seeing his smug mug, flaunting his lifestyle around. It’s bigger than us now. I’d like to see some good come out of the ugly.”