Thomas Ravenel Accused of Sexually Assaulting Nanny While His Baby Daughter Slept Nearby
South Carolina police are investigating allegations of sexual assault brought against Southern Charm star Thomas Ravenel — and now, a woman who says she spoke with authorities has come forward publicly.
Dawn, known to fans of the Bravo show as “Nanny Dawn,” claimed to PEOPLE that she is the woman who reported Ravenel to police on May 7 for allegations of sexual assault.
“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.”
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PEOPLE has reached out to the South Carolina Police and Ravenel’s lawyer for comment.
Detailing the alleged incident, Dawn claims that in January 2015, she reported for work, and Ravenel headed to dinner with friends.
“Thomas returned home from an evening with friends,” she said. “I had just finished making baby food and was drying baby bottles.”
Dawn claims Ravenel turned off the lights, and she called out that she was working in the kitchen and needed to see. At that point, she alleges Ravenel entered the kitchen and attempted to kiss her.
“I told him ‘this isn’t appropriate. I work for you.’ He then hugged me as an alternative,” she said. “I had baby bottles in my hands, so I couldn’t hug him. It felt like he was putting his weight on me.”
After suggesting Ravenel go upstairs, Dawn said 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,” she said. “He was blocking the door. I was mortified, embarrassed, and scared.”
“I was unsure what to do because Kensie was sleeping very close by,” she continued. “He proceeded to rip my clothes off, and I struggled to redress. I remember how worried I was that I may have to run outside in the January cold without clothes on and in an upscale neighborhood. I lived almost an hour away so I would have to drive home naked.”
Without going into further detail, Dawn said she eventually got away from Ravenel, who she said is now being investigated for “first-degree forcible rape.”
According to Dawn, several weeks later, Ravenel apologized and “promised it would never happen again.”
Dawn says she struggled with shame and a range of emotions — including whether to tell Dennis, 25. When she did eventually confide in Dennis, the reality star was in “shock.”
Dawn claimed Dennis then confronted Ravenel, which she says only intensified their already strained relationship — including intense victim-shaming in which Ravenel would allegedly “butt-dial” her, allowing her to overhear him insulting her to others.
Dawn was replaced by a new nanny, Deidre Blair Politelli.
Having now come to terms with her experience, Dawn said she wants to help empower other victims of sexual assault.
“I want the public to reconsider victim shaming,” she said. “Victims are reluctant to report crimes and inequality due to the fear of humiliation and retaliation. Perpetrators will not be held accountable for their behavior if we blame the victim. It’s not the victim’s fault. Abuse is a conscious choice by the abuser. No means no. Times up!”
Dawn, 43, also said she was empowered by real estate agent Ashley Perkins’ recent decision to come forward and share her mother’s story. Ashley has alleged that her mom Debbie Holloway Perkins was assaulted by Ravenel after meeting him on Tinder in October 2015 and going on a last-minute first date with him on Dec. 25 of that year.
Ashley — who told PEOPLE she did not witness the alleged assault — said her mother “acted very withdrawn” after the date before she confided in her daughter that Ravenel “stuck his penis in my face.” She also accused Ravenel of holding her mom’s arms back and sticking his fingers inside her vagina and anus.
On June 1, 2016, Debbie and Ashley allegedly participated in mediation with Ravenel and his lawyer. (Ashley says attorney Gloria Allred took on their case; Allred declined to comment when contacted by PEOPLE.) According to Ashley, her mother signed a non-disclosure agreement with Ravenel and received $200,000.
“My client enjoys a certain degree of fame, which has unfortunately made him a vulnerable target for such claims,” Ravenel’s attorney, Richard P. Terbrusch, told PEOPLE in a statement responding to Ashley’s allegations. “The person this woman describes is simply not the man that I know. 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.”
The production company behind the hit Bravo series announced last week that they are looking into the sexual assault allegations against the 55-year-old reality star.
“Haymaker, the production company for Southern Charm, and Bravo take allegations like these very seriously,” Bravo said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “Haymaker is conducting an investigation, and once all the information is gathered and carefully reviewed, appropriate action will be taken.”