Ex-model released on time served
“Initially when we received this case, we had a number of sources that came forward and talked to us about incidents of sexual activity with him. As we attempted to talk to these witnesses further, things started to drop off. These cases are sometimes problematic when talking about … whether there’s a consensual relationship.” Leon Cannizzaro, Orleans Parish district attorney
Former model Dean Kelly, accused of raping two teenage girls in 2005, took a plea deal to reduced charges Monday and will face no jail time aside from what he has already served at Orleans Parish Prison.
Kelly, best known for his hunky, shirtless appearance in the 1994 video for the Aerosmith song “Crazy,” pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
He took an “Alford plea” under the deal, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged the state had sufficient evidence to convict him.
He received a 10-year suspended sentence — except for the 22 months he has served — and five years of probation.
As part of the deal, Kelly is required to register for 10 years as a sex offender and must participate in a treatment program.
He also is prohibited from contact with the two victims in this case or their families.
The victims alleged Kelly threatened that their “families’ bodies would end up at the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain” if they reported the crimes, said Lindsey Ladouceur, an attorney for one of the victims, who is identified only as “A.E.” in court documents.
Kelly, who has been accused by women of stalking them on social media and via text messages, also is banned from using social media under any aliases.
Following court-ordered mandates has been a problem for the 42-year-old ex-model over the nearly three-year course of the case.
His parents have repeatedly bonded him out of jail, only to see him locked up again when he was found to have violated the conditions of his release.
Kelly was originally charged with forcible rape, felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, second-degree kidnapping and possession of child pornography.
He could have faced decades in prison if convicted on all charges.
Prosecutors had said they believed he raped a 14-year-old girl in February 2005 and a 17-year-old girl later that year.
Investigators also said they found a flash drive with child pornography on it at his home.
Ladouceur, who represented the younger girl, read a statement from the victim Monday describing her years of torment, while a shackled Kelly rubbed his hands and held his head low.
“In the one day that I met you and was violated by you, you consciously took advantage of the naivete, vulnerability and trust of a 14-year-old girl, when you were 33 years old, to meet your own selfish, sick, sexual needs,” the statement read.
“Not only did you cause me physical pain, but also your actions ravaged me emotionally.”
According to the statement, Kelly represented himself to the girl as “a successful agent and actor with an audition opportunity who wanted to support my interest in acting.”
Later, Ladouceur said the families of the two victims accepted the plea deal because others who came forward alleging similar acts by Kelly never followed through with their accusations.
“Hopefully this is a sword of Damocles over his head,” she said, adding that for the victims, “It’s taken a lot of courage, a lot of therapy, a lot of soul-searching, a lot of tears.”
A far cry from the muscular, fresh-faced skinny dipper of his video fame days, Kelly walked into Criminal District Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier’s courtroom gaunt and bearded, wearing orange jail scrubs and clutching a legal file,
He said little, answering, “Yes, your honor” several times to the judge’s questions about whether he understood the plea deal.
He nodded slightly as Flemings-Davillier admonished him for “your behavior, your conduct and your decision-making.” She pledged to revoke his probation at any misstep.
Kelly’s family and the woman he married shortly before the allegations erupted in early 2011 stayed away from the courtroom on Monday. The couple are no longer together.
Kelly’s attorneys, Jason Williams and Nandi Campbell, said Kelly steadfastly maintains his innocence and only agreed to the deal after prosecutors sought another delay that would have left him in jail for several more months.
Kelly was returned to jail in late July and held without bond after a sheriff’s deputy found a woman at his home during a random check — a violation of his house confinement at the time.
Williams and Campbell cited several problems with the allegations made against Kelly, casting doubt on the timing and other aspects of the alleged assaults.
They said evidence showed one of the victims initiated contact with Kelly several times after the alleged rape.
“This thing was a municipal issue, with a bunch of people up in arms. A lot of things that were said had nothing to do with breaking the law,” Williams said. “They worked the case into a lather.”
Campbell said Kelly “really wanted to see his day in court.”
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro agreed the case against Kelly had problems.
“Initially when we received this case, we had a number of sources that came forward and talked to us about incidents of sexual activity with him,” Cannizzaro said.
“As we attempted to talk to these witnesses further, things started to drop off. These cases are sometimes problematic when talking about … whether there’s a consensual relationship.”
The child pornography charge against Kelly, which came after a search of a computer turned up a sex video of a girl the FBI said appeared to be 9 or 10, was dismissed with the plea deal. Cannizzaro said it would have been tough to prove that Kelly had sole access to the computer where the video was found.
In 2011, Kelly showed up to court with a bloated face from what his attorneys called a severe beating in jail.
He allegedly suffered a broken jaw.
At the time, a sheriff’s detective said three inmates had been arrested in the incident, but Cannizzaro said Monday that his office never received any reports on the incident and so no charges were filed.