Monster. Deceiver. A cancer. Pure evil personified.
Those were the terms used to describe child molester Louis “Skip” ReVille as he pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually abusing 23 boys in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties over a decade's time. Another 12 boys are credited to his tally, but they were too shaken to come forward, prosecutors said.
By the numbers
23: Number of boys Louis “Skip” ReVille pleaded guilty to molesting. 35: Total number of boys ReVille is suspected of molesting.50: Number of years ReVille was sentenced to serve in prison.74: Age ReVille will be when eligible for release from prison.5: Number of years he must spend on probation when released.9: Number of civil lawsuits filed as a result of ReVille's crimes.
Describing ReVille's acts as tragic and despicable, Circuit Judge Markley Dennis sentenced the former coach, teacher, Bible group leader and foster parent to 50 years in prison. ReVille must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, meaning he will be at least 74 years old when he gets out.
ReVille, 74, would get probation, monitor
Judge Markley Dennis admitted to prolific child molester Louis “Skip” ReVille that, as a father and grandfather, he wanted to lock him away from the world.“Part of me wants to put you where you'll never see daylight,” Dennis said after ReVille pleaded guilty Wednesday.Yet judges typically avoid the stiffest sentences when the accused person pleads guilty, thereby saving the court the time and expense of a trial. Dennis handed down a 50-year sentence on the most serious charge against ReVille and a litany of 20-, 15- and 10-year sentences to run concurrently.But the circuit judge added certain provisions that provide a backup plan to keep ReVille from molesting again — and then another fail-safe on top of that. ReVille, 32, must serve at least 85 percent of his 50-year sentence. If he is still alive after that, at age 74, he falls under the scope of the Sexually Violent Predator Act, meaning he could return to confinement under a civil action, unless he successfully demonstrates that he poses no threat to the community.Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said few convicts labeled under that act ever make it out of confinement. On the chance of an exception in ReVille's case, Dennis made another provision:He suspended one of ReVille's 15-year sentences to five years of probation. That seems like a reprieve to the former teacher at face value, but it really means that ReVille remains under watch, even if he is released.He also must wear a GPS ankle monitor for the rest of his life.“The catch is, he probably isn't ever getting out,” Wilson said. “It was a smart sentence.”Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or on Twitter at @allysonjbird.
A clinical counselor who works with ReVille pointed out that sexual appetites generally diminish with old age.
What they said
“I am the only one responsible for the pain and suffering that the victims, their families and the community have had to go through. I am sorry for disappointing so many people.”Louis “Skip” ReVille“He used God as a ruse. … He epitomized what the devil can do.”Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson “You get to know the man and the monster.”ReVille defense attorney Craig Jones“I've confessed this to you Mr. ReVille. … I'm a human being. I'm a father, grandfather. I'm a man. … Part of me wants to put you where you'll never see daylight.”Circuit Judge Markley Dennis“The unfortunate reality is, he's about average. Most child molesters have about 35 victims.”Dr. William Burke, counselor who rehabilitates sexual predators“This is one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. I hate saying that because it made him so good at what he did. He could have been anything, and this is what he chose.”John Doe No. 13“There will be no forgiveness for Mr. ReVille from me. I know God wants me to, but I cannot find it in my heart.”Mother of ReVille victim, in letter to court“How can I be praying for your son?” ReVille, to several parents who entrusted their children to him“Mr. ReVille, your end is not going to be pretty or pleasant. But thank God, it is what you deserve.”Parent of ReVille victim, in letter to court
But prosecutors, unwilling to take that chance, plan to do their best to make sure he dies behind bars. They made it clear they plan to have ReVille civilly committed and locked up indefinitely in the state's sexually violent predator program, once his sentence is complete.
ReVille, 32, didn't react as the sentence was read. He held his head down, his eyes closed, as he did through most of the three-hour proceeding.
He did, however, offer an apology.
“I am sorry for what I've done,” ReVille said. “I want to make it clear to the victims, the parents of the victims and the schools and organizations where I have been that I am the only one responsible for my actions. I am the only one guilty of any wrongdoing. I am the only one responsible for the pain and suffering that the victims, their families and the community have had to go through.”
But even as ReVille appeared contrite, prosecutors described his mea culpa as one more slick bit of trickery, a last-ditch bid to elicit sympathy and win mercy from the court.
A master manipulator, ReVille used sports as bait and religion as a ruse to lure young boys into his clutches. He exposed them to porn, masturbated with them and, later, fondled and performed oral sex on them.
His crimes date back to 2002, when he began preying upon boys at his alma mater, The Citadel, during summer camp. ReVille honed his technique at Pinewood Preparatory School, where he held his first teaching job. He then cycled through nearly a dozen coaching, teaching and church posts throughout the region, picking up new victims along the way.
ReVille targeted boys from healthy but busy families, offering rides and other assistance to get access to his conquests. He kept lubricant in the glove compartment of his car for quick masturbation sessions and invited students to perverse gatherings at the various homes he occupied, prosecutors said.
Some assaults occurred while ReVille's wife, Carrie, was on bed rest after giving birth to triplets, prosecutors said.
Assistant solicitors Debbie Herring-Lash and Meghan Hall described how ReVille formed loose fraternities of boys and encouraged them to take part in games and contests, such as seeing how long a boy could keep an erection in a cold shower. Other games included having boys lick chocolate and peanut butter off ReVille's penis, prosecutors said. The boys ranged in age from 10 to 17.
ReVille's schemes unraveled last fall, when some Mount Pleasant boys shared with their parents suspicions they had about ReVille's activities with their friends. Those suspicions led a group of parents to meet to discuss ReVille's behavior, Herring-Lash said.
When word got back to ReVille, he shot off an email to the parents suggesting that things were being blown out of proportion, Herring-Lash said. He encouraged them to drop the matter so as to not to draw attention to their families and to allow him to leave the area quietly, she said.
His world imploded when the family of one boy sought help at the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center. The center notified Mount Pleasant police, who launched an investigation. They arrested ReVille on Oct. 28, and he started confessing and naming victims, Herring-Lash said. The investigation soon sprawled over three counties.
Some victims only cried and nodded when questioned by police about being touched, prosecutors said. Others described running around naked and masturbating at church lock-ins. One boy talked about being molested at a basketball tournament, prosecutors said.
Facing the music
When ReVille strode into a Charleston County courtroom Wednesday, it was the first time many in the packed audience had seen him since his arrest. Pale, thin and dressed in a gray-striped jailhouse jumpsuit, he shuffled to his seat, his wrists and ankles bound by shackles.
He avoided looking at the audience, which included at least one of his victims and his wife. With a package of tissues in her lap and neat index cards of notes in her hands, Carrie ReVille watched stoically throughout the proceedings, showing little emotion until the sentence was imposed.
Only one victim chose to address the court. Known as John Doe 13, the young man repeatedly demanded that ReVille look at him as he gave a tear-filled, gut-wrenching statement about the abuse that sent his life into a downward spiral of drugs and suicidal thoughts. “He is a disease to society,” the young man said. “He is a cancer.”
Prosecutors and private attorneys read several letters from other victims and their parents. They described in painful detail how ReVille wormed his way into their lives, asking, “How can I be praying for your son?”
He then betrayed their trust, derailed futures and left some questioning their faith in God.
One father, whose son attended Bible study with ReVille, described his regret at not being able to face ReVille in person in the courtroom. But he said his son's fear of being identified as ReVille's victim was too great.
“There is evil in this world, and he is sitting in your courtroom,” the father wrote.
Dr. William Burke, who specializes in assessing and treating sex offenders, said the number of victims attributed to ReVille is, unfortunately, typical for sex offenders.
Burke said tests showed that ReVille is attracted to women and young boys. That could stem from a couple of events in his childhood, he said.
ReVille's parents divorced when he was quite young, and his mother remarried soon after, leaving ReVille feeling isolated. Then, in third grade, a teacher took ReVille aside, had him strip and sketched him in the nude, Burke said. “He experienced that as pleasurable because he had an adult male paying attention to him,” he said.
One of ReVille's friends then brought home a sex-education pamphlet, and the boys began experimenting, Burke said. That behavior continued with other boys, he said.
Burke and Craig Jones, ReVille's attorney, said they didn't offer those insights to excuse his actions. In fact, Jones said, ReVille instructed him from the beginning not to mount a defense on his behalf.
Instead, ReVille wanted to cooperate fully with police investigators and do whatever he could to minimize additional pain to his victims and their families. “There are no excuses. No justification,” Jones said. “There's nothing I can say that will undo what happened.”
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said ReVille's cooperation was welcome but, like everything else, likely a calculated move to win mercy and save his own skin. He violated sacred trusts and demeaned religion to satisfy his urges.
Wilson also lashed out at people and institutions that failed to report suspicions about ReVille along the way, allowing him to continue molesting.
“We can't just look the other way, pass the buck and say 'Next,' ” she said.
Wilson said ReVille's case should lead to changes in mandatory reporting laws, leaving people without the choice to “shirk moral responsibility.”
Wilson named no names, but The Citadel and Pinewood, in particular, have been faulted and sued for their handling of complaints about ReVille early in his career. The Citadel never notified authorities after a former camper complained to the school in 2007 about ReVille hosting masturbation parties at the summer camp.
“We are not in the backwoods,” Wilson said. “We have every resource you can imagine in this community, and people were discouraged from using them. That is a true shame.”
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5. Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/allysonjbird. RELATED STORY: ReVille victim details torment, anger, guilt
Louis “Skip” ReVille and his attorney, Craig Jones (left), listen as a letter to Judge Markley Dennis from one of ReVille’s victims is read in court. ReVille accepted full responsibility for his actions and was sentenced to 50 years.×