Earlier this month, the stepsister of Heidi Montag Pratt, Carissa Berlet, came forward to reveal she was the victim of sexual abuse by The Hills: New Beginnings star's father, William Montag. In a new interview, Carissa details her difficult decision to go public, and how she handles the traumatic memories of the past.
In 2015, William was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a child and aggravated incest. He pleaded not guilty, only to convert to a plea of not guilty for a felony charge of child abuse in August 2016. The 72-year-old was originally granted a four-year probation sentence that ended prematurely on February 5, 2019. He was also required to carry out a “Boundaries” course, enter rehabilitation, and refrain from committing crimes, as laid out in his plea agreement.
Carissa’s abuse started in the mid-90s when she was only 13-years-old and continued for years. After admitting the nature of her mistreatment to a therapist, she came forward to allege that she endured more than 50 instances of abuse by William over time, according to Radar Online. Carissa said she felt compelled to bring her involvement in the case to light, citing the #MeToo movement as an important factor in her decision to divulge her secret history with William. She said, “I know there are other women out there going through worse abuse, and worse trauma. It’s not right.”
Carissa said that she was disappointed in the legal system, and what she feels was a decidedly light sentence for the accuser, saying, “I was relieved… but I don’t feel like justice was served. I wanted my day in court.” While Carissa’s mother is still married to William, the Colorado native said she is trying to reestablish a relationship with her mom. She has stated that she has no intention of ever communicating with William and has a permanent restraining order against him. And even though Carissa had prior struggles with substance abuse, she is now determined to put the past behind her, saying, “He is out of my life... I have freedom to live in my truth.”
It is troubling to hear about what happened to Carissa, but encouraging to know that she had the strength to come forward about the abuse and move on with her life. While Heidi hasn’t commented on the allegations, the Hills: New Beginnings star has no obligation to do so. It’s a personal matter that is best handled in private and away from any television cameras.
New episodes of The Hills: New Beginnings air Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV.
Source: Radar Online