MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Germantown native Silas Gaither faces multiple rape charges in Shelby County. Now, a man who encountered the former “Survivor” contestant in 2008 has come forward to share his experience of what he describes as being physically assaulted by Gaither while at work.
Dave Hansen worked security at a Santa Monica, California bar in 2008 when he said several female customers complained about a man groping them. At the time, he did not know the man, Gaither, had been a contestant on the CBS reality show “Survivor.”
“I simply said, ‘Sir, you’re not going to come back inside,'” Hansen said. “Little did I know that was going to lead to one minute of being nearly pummeled to death.”
Hansen said his friend rushed him to the hospital, where the diagnosis was grim.
“I was diagnosed with not only the concussion, five broken ribs, a fractured occipital lobe and fractures in the skull,” Hansen said.
He also described a culture at the bar that he said explained why no one called police.
“It’s fear of [losing] a liquor license. You can’t have three incidents a year and we had three incidents per night,” he said.
After months of recovery, Hansen decided to sue his attacker.
“I can feel the fractures in my skull that man caused,” he said. “I had crushing medical bills — tens of thousands of dollars.”
Gaither signed a settlement agreement with Hansen in 2010.
The lawsuit referred to the incident as “assault and battery,” though it made clear Gaither denies responsibility and “intends merely to avoid litigation.”
He settled with Hansen for $15,000.
“It cost me a lot over the next few years. That barely touched the surface of it,” he said.
Hansen said the incident has stuck with him.
“I can’t see terribly well out of one eye at all, the fact I still have headaches every day,” he said.
Hansen also deals with the psychological trauma. He has tried to move on, and no longer lives in California, but the incident still haunts him.
And now, there’s a new trigger.
“I watched one of your stories and precisely that’s why you’re the only person I’m dealing with on this subject,” he said.
Hansen reached out when he saw WREG’s coverage of Silas Gaither’s three rape charges involving two victims in Shelby County.
Gaither did not comment on the charges after a recent hearing in Shelby County court.
WREG has also uncovered new documentation showing police in Clearwater, Florida are also investigating him for rape. According to the Clearwater Police investigation, he pushed a woman, grabbed her wrists and overpowered her.
One of the victims from the Shelby County cases tells WREG Gaither “attacks when you’re least expecting it” and said she met him in Bible study. She called her rape “brutal” and “very violent.”
She said seven women in all have come forward and urged anyone else with allegations to do the same.
In fact, that’s why Hansen is sharing his story.
“If a single woman has had an experience they feel uncomfortable speaking about, I’d like them to see there is at least one man out there victimized by the same guy in a very minor way, a fractional way,” he said.
There is also an image that sticks with him: seeing Gaither’s eyes seconds before the punch.
“That dead look I suspect is similar to what one or more women have encountered in the past,” he said. “If there’s one woman touched by this, which I’m dead certain there have been, if that causes her to come forward and speak her story then I’ll feel this was an accomplishment.”
WREG contacted Gaither’s current lawyer, Mark McDaniel, Sr., who said his client did not have any comment on the 2008 incident and added it had no relevance to the pending cases in Shelby County.