In recent years, The Hills: New Beginnings star Heidi Montag Pratt has been forced to face shocking allegations her own father sexually abused a minor female.
But the pain is even more devastating for the 32-year-old reality star’s stepsister, Carissa Berlet — who is courageously speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with RadarOnline.com about the horrific abuse she claims she endured at the hands of her stepfather, Heidi’s father William Montag.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t hide his secret anymore,” said Carissa, whose name had been redacted from the Colorado court case. But when contacted by Radar about the case, she decided to come forward for the very first time.
Colorado-based mom Carissa, 38, said the #MeToo movement has been encouraging for her.
“I know there are other women out there going through worse abuse, and worse trauma. It’s not right,” she said.
But Radar exclusively reported on July 2 he quietly changed his tune, and pleaded guilty to child abuse in 2016.
The former youth ski instructor, 72, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of Child Abuse— Knowingly/Reckless on August 5, 2016, according to documents from the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County, Colorado.
He escaped jail time, and was sentenced to four years of supervised probation.
Despite William’s admission of criminal wrongdoing, Carissa says the legal system let her down.
“In the end, he pleaded guilty and he chose to plead guilty knowing he was admitting guilt and he was wrong. If you’re innocent, you fight it,” she said.
“I was relieved…but I don’t feel like justice was served. I wanted my day in court.”
According to the probable cause affidavit for his arrest warrant, obtained exclusively by Radar, William sexually abused Carissa for years beginning in the mid-90s, when she was just 13 years old.
Cops said she came forward in 2013 after confessing her traumatic past to a therapist. She claimed William abused her on more than 50 occasions in the family home.
William and Carissa’s mother are still married. Carissa claims she is working on rebuilding a relationship with her mom, but vows she will never speak with William again.
“He is out of my life. I have freedom to live in my truth,” said Carissa, adding that she has a permanent restraining order against William. Radar confirmed the order, which was granted in Routt County on March 7, 2019. William must not come within 100 yards of Carissa or her family members' schools, places of employment or residence.
Carissa, who suffered from substance abuse in her younger years and even attempted suicide, said she is now focused on moving on with her life.
“I’m doing good,” she said. “I don’t care to know how he’s doing — I don’t want to know or need to know.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, please call RAINN's National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.