R.I. state Sen Nicholas Kettle, is accused of extorting sex from a male page who went on to run against him two years later
Kettle, 27, now the Minority Whip allegedly coerced the page into sex on two occasions in 2011
Kettle, who’s unmarried, is also accused of sending pictures of his girlfriend’s ‘private parts’ to a married friend in exchange for photos of the friend’s wife
He was arraigned on two counts of extortion on Monday and pled not guilty and was released on $50,000 bond
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Minority Leader Dennis Algiere both have called on Kettle to resign or face expulsion
Kettle denies wrong doing, has refused to step down from his Senate position, his attorney said the alleged victim is a political foe who ran against Kettle in 2014
R.I. state Sen Nicholas Kettle [arrest photo], is accused of coercing a male page into sex on two occasions in 2011
The indictment accused Kettle a republican from Coventry, of threatening to injure the page or harm his reputation if he did not comply.
state GOP Sen. Nicholas Kettle, 27, was arraigned on two counts of extortion in Providence Superior Court on Monday, as the indictment was unsealed. The Senate Minority Whip was indicted and arrested at his job in Richmond last week, but the details of the extortion counts remained sealed over the weekend.
Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle [seen in court in Providence on Monday], allegedly threatened to injure the page or harm his reputation if he didn’t comply
The indictment adds that Kettle threatened to injure the page or harm his reputation if he didn’t comply.
State police separately charged Kettle with video voyeurism on Friday for allegedly sending pictures of his ex-girlfriend’s ‘private parts.’
The alleged victim, Zachary Farnum, served as a page from February 2011 to May 2012,. Legislative pages, who are usually students between age 15 and college-age, run errands for lawmakers.
Alleged victim, Zachary Farnum, served as a page from February 2011 to May 2012
Farnum is the son of retired state police lieutenant and now works as a publicist for country music artists in Nashville, according to the Providence Journal.
Kettle pled not guilty and was released on $50,000 personal recognizance.
He did not speak to reporters outside court and did not comment on whether he would resign, but his lawyer described Farnum as a political rival of Kettle’s.
‘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, the Providence Journal reported.
‘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.’
State elections records show Farnum ran against Kettle for the District 21 Senate seat in 2014 as an independent, three years after the alleged extortion.
He received nine per cent of the vote in the three-way race.
Kettle was 19 when he was elected in 2010. to represent Rhode Island’s District 21.
Zach Farnum ran for his alleged abuser’s seat two years after. He now works as a publicist for country music artists in Nashville, Tennessee
Kettle was arrested Friday afternoon at his job in Richmond on a charge of video voyeurism that State Police say was a result of him sharing pornographic images of his now ex-girlfriend.
Details of the video voyeurism charge were released on Monday hours after he pled not guilty to extorting sex from a Farnum. Rhode Island state police say Kettle took naked pictures of his ex-girlfriend without her knowledge and then sent them to his friend Zachary Brennan, in Springfield, New Hampshire.
Brennan in return Police say, then sent back naked pictures of his wife. The friends also exchanged images of their own genitals and discussed how to take videos of the women during sex. Police say in one message Kettle told Brennan he needed to be “stealthy.”
Cops also seized more than a dozen mobile phones, computers and hard drives from Kettle’s home and office.
Brennan police say admitted exchanging the photographs when they searched his house last month. Kettle has denied wrongdoing.
The development prompted Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to reiterate his earlier call for Kettle to resign immediately. He said he was ‘horrified and disgusted by these allegations.
‘As President of the Senate, as a father, and as a grandfather, I am absolutely horrified and disgusted by these allegations. We in the Senate are deeply shaken,” Ruggerio said,’ he said.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio [Dem] Has called for Kettle to resign immediately
Kettle has denied wrongdoing, he’s also refused to step down from the Senate
Kettle has refused to step down from the Senate since state police began investigating him last month.
If he continues to refuse to step down, the Senate will pursue his expulsion, Ruggerio said. He added that 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.
House Minority Leader Dennis Algiere has also called on Kettle to resign.
“The allegations contained in today’s indictment are extremely serious,” Algiere said in a statement.
“My thoughts are with the victims of the abhorrent behavior that has been alleged. I again call upon Senator Kettle to do resign from the Senate. If he does not, I will be working with Senate President Ruggerio to expel him from the chamber.”
Senate spokesman Greg Pare who noted that Kettle’s alleged victim did not lodge any complaints while he was a page, said the Senate page program includes 67 pages, all hired at the recommendation of senators. He said pages range in age from 15 through college age.