Mind of a monster: ReVille explicit in detailing how he chose victims
Prolific child molester Louis “Skip” ReVille has produced some 30 pages worth of insights into his sinister mind-set and methods to help authorities stop future pedophiles from preying on children, his counselor said.
Before pleading guilty last week to molesting 23 boys in the Charleston area, ReVille dutifully detailed how he selected victims, his methods for making them feel at ease and the cues he looked for to tell him which boys to avoid, said William Burke, who specializes in assessing and treating sex offenders.
Burke also revealed that ReVille placed his actual victim count at 43 boys. The former coach, teacher and Bible study leader wrote “clarification” letters to each of these victims in which he detailed his actions, took full responsibility for his transgressions and apologized, Burke said.
In his letters to the boys who came forward to authorities, ReVille wrote, “The only way I could have stopped this was by you telling.”
“That is an important statement for him to make and for them to hear,” Burke said.
The revelations provide a chilling coda to a case that has gripped the Lowcountry for eight months, tarnishing reputations, derailing young lives, fueling lawsuits and leaving parents to wonder just whom they could trust with their children.
Two victims expressed an interest in confronting ReVille, and they were invited to do so at the Charleston County jail on Wednesday night, after a judge sentenced ReVille to 50 years in prison, Burke said. The next day, he was shipped off to Columbia to begin serving his time.
ReVille, 32, has indicated that he wants to continue receiving treatment and that he wants to help schools and churches find ways to prevent child molestation, Burke said.
“He hasn’t changed his position since we became involved with him,” said Burke, a member of the Medical University of South Carolina’s forensic psychiatry department. “He wanted to do everything he could to help the victims and prevent future victims.”
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, who prosecuted ReVille, said his efforts might help researchers, but his motives for doing so are difficult to decipher and do not mitigate the damage he has done.
“When you have someone who is a master manipulator and that is how he has survived and thrived his whole life, it’s hard to know how sincere he is,” she said. “And whether he is sincere or not, he is still an unabashed pedophile who cannot be cured and needs to be segregated from the rest of society.”
ReVille is being evaluated at Kirkland Correctional Institute, where prison officials will spend 30 days or so getting a read on him and figuring out where to put him. Given the nature of his crimes — many of which are considered violent offenses — there is a very good chance he will end up serving time in a maximum-security facility such as Lieber prison in Ridgeville, Corrections spokesman Clark Newsom said.
“People with crimes of that magnitude, that is usually where they end up,” Newsom said.
The state has no special facility for sex offenders, so ReVille could end up in the general inmate population, where child molesters exist at the bottom of the pecking order and are often targeted for violence and abuse, authorities said.
Through his attorney, ReVille could request to be placed in protective custody, but he has not yet done so, Newsom said. In protective custody, ReVille would be locked alone in a cell for the vast majority of his days.
Burke said ReVille had indicated that he wanted to be placed at Lieber so he could continue receiving treatment from Burke’s practice in Summerville.
Burke told the court on Wednesday that ReVille’s desire for young boys is likely rooted, in part, in childhood experiences: feelings of isolation after his parents’ divorce, a nude sketching session he had with a male teacher in third grade, sexual experimentation with a boyhood friend. Tests show he is attracted to both young boys and adult women, he said.
Burke, who has evaluated thousands of offenders, said he has encountered few like ReVille, whom he described as highly intelligent.
After his October arrest in Mount Pleasant, ReVille dismissed attorneys who wanted to mount a defense on his behalf and provided detailed statements about his crimes to investigators. He also provided Burke with a detailed timeline of his transgressions through the years.
ReVille told Burke to openly share test results charting his sexual arousal preferences. And he went through a painstaking, time-consuming process to prepare the clarification letters, which is rare in cases where the offenders’ victims aren’t family members, Burke said.
The Solicitor’s Office attempted to contact all the victims’ parents or therapists to see if they were interested in receiving the letters, Burke said. Such letters often help victims heal. But it was important to ensure that the victims had support at hand before they ventured into that territory, he said.
“Often it is very emotionally upsetting for them, and we want to make sure they are properly attended to therapeutically,” Burke said.
ReVille offered to read the letters to his victims in person if they were interested. Two victims who expressed an interest were invited to meet with him at the jail. Neither Burke nor Wilson, the solicitor, attended that gathering.
Burke has stressed that he offers none of these insights as excuses for ReVille’s behavior. But he said the materials ReVille has provided chronicling his reasoning and techniques should prove useful to researchers and others working to prevent child sexual abuse.
ReVille reportedly targeted boys from healthy but busy families, offering rides and other assistance to gain access to the youths. 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.
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 whom he exposed to porn, masturbation, fondling and oral sex.
Under the terms of his sentence, ReVille will not be eligible for release until he is 74 years old. And despite his efforts to share insights into his psyche, Wilson said prosecutors will still seek to have him civilly committed and held indefinitely in the state’s sexually violent predator program when his sentence is completed.
“Those are things that may save his soul someday, but I don’t think he deserves any award from us,” she said. “That’s for a higher power to decide.”
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.