PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State Sen. Nicholas Kettle, R-Coventry, has been arrested by the state police and charged with one count of video voyeurism and two counts of extortion.
The 27-year-old was arrested by state police on Friday. The extortion counts were through a grand jury indictment, according to Lt. Col. Joseph Philbin. He did not immediately provide more details on the charges.
Kettle was taken into custody at a family-owned business Narragansett Reproductions, in Richmond, and is being brought back to state police headquarters in Scituate.
Philbin said Kettle will be processed by the state police then taken to the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston for the weekend. He will likely be arraigned on Monday.
Kettle’ attorney Paul DiMaio said his client is “terrified” that he will be spending the weekend in prison.
“He’s about 5’3″ weighs about 125 pounds soaking wet and a young 27 years old,” DiMaio said outside state police headquarters. “He’s never been arrested, never been in trouble, he’s not a violent person. He’s terrified.”
DiMaio had previously said the investigation started after Kettle left his iPad at his girlfriend’s house and she went through the device’s photos.
Last month, state police investigators served a search warrant at Kettle’s Coventry home and seized a cellphone, according to DiMaio. He said they later handed over a computer to detectives. DiMaio added that his firm has hired a computer expert to assist in Kettle’s defense.
Philbin said the case against Kettle accuses him of sharing the pictures with another person “out of state.” Asked if that person could face charges, Philbin said that would be up to prosecutors there.
On Wednesday, Target 12 reported the state police investigation had expanded into the State Senate Page program.
In response to the charges, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio called for Kettle to step down.
“It is deeply troubling that a member of the Senate has been indicted on charges of video voyeurism and extortion,” Ruggerio said in a statement. “Based on what we know at this time, I believe that Mr. Kettle should resign immediately.”
Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere – a fellow Repbulican – is also calling on Kettle to step down.
“Based upon what I’m reading and seeing and hearing, Senator Kettle should resign immediately,” Algiere said.
Earlier this week he said he has no plans to resign. If Kettle were to step down, it would no longer trigger a special election under state law because it is after the first Monday in February of an election year.
Kettle was first elected to the Senate in 2010 when he was just 20 years old and has been re-elected three times since. He is one of just five Republicans in the 38-member Senate.
According to the state’s video voyeurism law, it is a crime if a person “for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or stimulation … uses, installs or permits the use or installation of an imaging device to capture, record, store or transmit visual images of the intimate areas of another person without that other person’s knowledge and consent, and under circumstances in which that other person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
If a person is convicted, the crime comes with a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.
Extortion comes with a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison.This article has been modified from the original to reflect State Sen. Dennis Algiere is the Senate Minority Leader.