Wednesday, February 21, 2018

GOP Lawmaker Charged With Extorting Sex From Male Page, Video Voyeurism

Oh, boy. Here we go again -- only this one is even weirder than usual.

The Associated Press reports that a grand jury indictment unsealed Monday accuses a Republican state senator in Rhode Island of extorting sex from a teenage boy in the Senate's page program. The indictment accused Kettle of threatening to injure the page or harm his reputation if he did not comply.

The indictment was unsealed as Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle, 27, was arraigned on two counts of extortion in Providence Superior Court. Kettle, of Coventry, is accused of using extortion to have sex multiple times with a male page. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond. Kettle declined comment on his case.

Kettle, now 27, was the youngest person ever elected to the Rhode Island Senate

The news prompted Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to call for Kettle to resign immediately. He said he was "horrified and disgusted by these allegations."

"We in the Senate are deeply shaken," he said.

If Kettle refuses to step down, the Senate will pursue his expulsion, Ruggerio said. He said he also asked the Senate's chief legal counsel to conduct an immediate review of the page program.

"We have spoken to most of the pages to ensure that they are aware of their rights in the workplace as well as procedures for reporting anything inappropriate," Ruggerio said.

Kettle was indicted last week, but the details of the extortion counts remained sealed over the weekend. State police separately charged Kettle with video voyeurism on Friday, and his lawyer has said he denies any wrongdoing. Kettle has been accused of sending pictures of his ex-girlfriend's "private parts" without her knowledge to a married friend he'd met in the Boy Scouts named Zachary Brennan in New Hampshire. (Anywhere but New Hampshire!) In addition, police said the friends exchanged images of their own genitals and discussed how to take videos of the women during sex. In one message, Kettle allegedly said he needed to be "stealthy" and asked Brennan for advice.

The indictment says Kettle extorted sex from the page on two occasions in 2011. While the AP did not name the accuser, the Rhode Island Public Radio did, highlighting an interesting twist:

Zach Farnum graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University, a private Christian liberal arts college in Nashville
The alleged victim in the extortion case against Kettle, Zach Farnum, ran against Kettle as an independent in 2014. In a newspaper story that year, Farnum characterized Kettle as a friend and said he was running against him because Kettle had said he would serve only two terms. 
Farnum now lives in Tennessee. Asked for comment about the case against Kettle, a colleague at his workplace responded, "Zach Farnum has spent the last seven years coming to terms with what was done to him, and moving on from it. He has since become an accomplished executive in the music industry and is no longer affiliated with Rhode Island politics. He is a full-time resident of the state of Tennessee and is registered to vote in Tennessee. The case is currently in the hands of the Attorney General of Rhode Island, and Mr. Farnum will not comment on the ongoing investigation."
Kettle did not speak to reporters outside court and did not comment on whether he would resign, but his lawyer wasted no time trying to undermine the victim. "The first thing that strikes me is who the victim is. I don't know the young man but I know he ran against my client," Kettle's attorney, Paul DiMaio, said. "I would think that if the person he ran against had some 'dirt' on the guy he's running against, he would have raised it at some point and time ... it certainly affects someone's credibility."

This has all the makings of the most inappropriate country song of all time.

Zach Farnum is president and CEO of the Nashville music PR firm 117 Entertainment

From HERE.

1 comment:

jaragon said...

Fact is often stranger than fiction