In September, sexual assault charges were filed against Thomas Ravenel, the former star of a popular reality TV show and a former high-ranking politician in South Carolina, The State reported.
Now the woman who police charged Ravenel with assaulting has filed a lawsuit against the former “Southern Charm” cast member and S.C. State Treasurer.
In addition to suing Ravenel, his former nanny Dawn Ledwell has also named some media networks and corporate conglomerates in the lawsuit. Among them is Bravo, the network that airs “Southern Charm,” as well as its production company Haymaker Content. Records show that Bravo’s parent company and owner, NBC Universal and Comcast, were also named in Ledwell’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified damages, mirrors the criminal case against Ravenel, who has been charged with second-degree assault and battery, according to county jail records.
Charleston Police reported Ravenel assaulted Ledwell, who was working as a nanny in his Charlotte Street home on Jan. 25, 2015.
Police said, “Ravenel undressed and made sexual advances on the woman that included grabbing the woman’s hand and putting it on his penis, and pulled down the woman’s pants and grabbed her vagina ... and made vulgar sexual comments,” according to The State.
Additionally, police said the underwire of Ledwell’s bra “cut into her skin and her shirt wrapped around her neck, which caused (her) to struggle to breathe,” as Ravenel forcefully tried to remove her clothes, The State reported.
According to the lawsuit, Ledwell was “shocked, scared, humiliated, and otherwise injured due to the assault perpetrated by ... Ravenel.”
The lawsuit also states Bravo, haymaker, NBC Universal and Comcast “knew or should have known” about Ravenel’s “propensities to assault” woman, and did nothing.
Also in the lawsuit is the allegation that Ravenel threatened Ledwell and her family.
“Our client had a sexual assault perpetrated on her by the defendant, and (he) did everything he could to cover it up and deny it,” Ryan Andrews, a lawyer representing Ledwell, said in a news release. “She has suffered the loss of her job, humiliation and emotional stress as a result of this incident, and we intend to see this through to the end to ensure justice is served.”
The attorney representing Ravenel “could not immediately be reached for comment,” postandcourier.com reported.
This is not the first time Ravenel has faced accusations of sexual assault. Another woman accused him of assaulting her after they met on the dating app Tinder in 2015, according to the Charleston City Paper. Ravenel settled a civil suit over that case for $200,000, the victim’s daughter said, the Paper reported.
Ravenel resigned as state treasurer in 2007 after being indicted on federal cocaine distribution charges and was sentenced to 10 months in prison, WCIV reported.
Ravenel starred in “Southern Charm” starting in its first season in 2014. The reality show follows the lives of socialites in Charleston. According to IMDb, the show “unlocks the gates of their centuries-old plantation homes for a real-life look at how modern-day Southern aristocracy lives.”
He quit the show earlier this year after the rape accusations emerged, according to The State.
The 56-year-old Ravenel tweeted the reality show filmed in Charleston “took advantage of me,” People magazine reported.
“Southern Charm’s” next season will be its sixth on Bravo.