"To be completely candid, when I first got the notice, I had a little breakdown," Ashley reveals.
In September of last year, Michael Darby, 59, was accused of "grabbing and groping" the butt of cameraman Orville Palmer while filming an episode of the reality show. He was charged with felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual conduct, but due to insufficient evidence, the charges were dismissed a month later.
The news spread like wildfire among Ashley's co-stars, prompting Gizelle Bryant to call her personally.
"We had a preliminary case, and the judge threw it out," Ashley, 31, explained to Gizelle, who replied, "Ohhh, so you know all about this?"
"That isn't new. I'm not worried about it," Ashley said, assuring Gizelle she and Michael were "actually stronger than ever."
But during a later confessional, Ashley got real about how the news first hit her.
"To be completely candid, when I first got the notice, I had a little breakdown," she revealed. "I get very apprehensive talking about this because it's not my case. I don't know all of the details of what happened, but it's troubling."
According to initial reports, Orville claimed Darby gave him "a flirtatious look" after grabbing his butt. Orville said he told Darby to stop, then reported the incident to his supervisor.
"I remember that cameraman, and I was wondering about that man," Monique Samuels -- who claimed the alleged incident took place at her rainbow baby shower earlier in the season -- told Karen Huger during the episode. "How humiliating is that, to have another grown man, old enough to probably be his grandfather, grope your butt, and you have to probably go tell your supervisor?"
"Consent is everything," Karen replied, calling Orville "a very nice man."
"I'm just at a loss for words," Monique said. "[At] this point, the only thing I can do is what I would want for me, which is for my close friends and my circle to encourage me. So I'm going to just encourage her. I really, truly feel bad for her. Whatever move she needs to make, I'm here."
Despite her rocky past with Ashley, Karen added, "I don't wish any ill."
The other Housewives had similar messages of support for their co-star, setting aside any past friction.
Later on in the episode, Ashley met up with her co-stars, where her situation was discussed as a group. Previous arguments ended up taking over the conversation, which led to Karen shouting, "Karma is a bitch, honey! The bar of soap? You might want to help your husband."
"As people who are close to me, I would love to tell you what's going on, but unfortunately, I can't share [it] with you," Ashley explained to her co-stars. "I just encourage you to, um, wait for the truth and wait for this to play out, because it shall."
Karen appeared on Sunday's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," where she defended Ashley, but not Michael.
"You know, first of all, it's not Ashley that's doing all of this. This is Michael, allegedly, Michael that's doing all of this, so my thing was, because of our past, Ashley and I have a rocky past, but we were working on becoming better, so because of his past history, though, I simply believed it," she explained. "I think it's possible, but allegedly, the charges have been dropped and he's cleared, and I hope he learned his lesson."
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