The founder of one of Arkansas’ largest private companies stands accused in four civil lawsuits of human trafficking and sexually exploiting younger women.
Terry L. Fleming of Little Rock, who started PerfectVision Manufacturing of Little Rock but recently resigned from the telecommunications equipment maker, employed a scheme of “preying upon young, indigent women with little or no financial safety net,” one of the lawsuits says.
That suit was filed by attorney Gene A. Ludwig of the Ludwig Law Firm of Little Rock, who is representing three of the women making claims against Fleming.
All of the cases have been filed since Dec. 24.
Ludwig declined to comment for this article, but his court filings say Fleming “induced and induces his victims with deception, fraud, coercion, drugs, alcohol, and many other tactics.”
According to a Jan. 18 news release from PerfectVision, Fleming no longer has any involvement in the company. Founded as Perfect 10 Antenna Co., the company said it only recently became aware of the women’s accusations.
“None of the accusations being made are alleged to have occurred in the workplace, or to be associated with the operations of PerfectVision,” the company said.
PerfectVision is named as a defendant in two of the lawsuits against Fleming, one of which claims the company provided “a significant portion of the cash used in violation of [the Human Trafficking Act of 2013] and other statutes.”
The women also accuse Fleming of date rape, but a records search last week indicated that he faced no criminal charges. As of Thursday, Fleming had not filed answers in three of the suits. In one case, Fleming actually sued one of the women first, casting himself as a victim of Kaylee Cathcart of Pulaski County.
Fleming’s lawsuit, filed by attorney J. Blake Hendrix, accuses Cathcart of exploiting him.
Hendrix, who typically handles criminal defense work and practices at Fuqua Campbell of Little Rock, declined to comment on Fleming’s case or the allegations.
The complaint, however, says Fleming suffered from “severe mental, emotional, and physical illnesses for over 10 years.” Fleming, who is in his 70s, currently suffers from the early stages of dementia, the filing said.
Cathcart filed a counterclaim against Fleming last week, and her filing is similar to the narratives of the three women represented by Ludwig.
Cathcart’s lawyer is Luther Sutter of Sutter & Gillham of Benton. Sutter also declined to comment.
In addition to the human trafficking allegations, two women allege a conspiracy among Fleming, PerfectVision, attorney Charles Darwin “Skip” Davidson of Little Rock and his law firm, Davidson Enterprises PLLC, and others. One of the women, Corissa Withrow, 24, of Pulaski County, said that after her sexual relationship with Fleming ended, Fleming would “withdraw his ‘gifts’ and promises even if it required litigation with the assistance of his co-conspirator, Davidson.” Rabekah Fendley, 27, of Conway, also made the same allegation in her separate lawsuit.
Withrow and Fendley’s allegations against Davidson and his law firm “are patently false,” according to a statement to Arkansas Business from attorneys Carter Fairley and Spence Fricke of the Barber Law Firm of Little Rock. “Davidson flatly denies the narrative and claims in the Complaints,” the statement said. “Filing a complaint proves nothing. As will become apparent through the Davidson filings and defenses in the litigation, the Plaintiffs and their attorneys allege false facts, circumstances and conclusions related to Davidson’s involvement with the Plaintiffs.”
Davidson denies knowing or having any involvement with these plaintiffs “whatsoever” and will vigorously defend himself, Fairley and Fricke wrote.
In the women’s complaints, they said that Davidson represented Fleming in a 2019 lawsuit against Laura Grace Tolliver of Conway, with whom he had a personal relationship. Fleming sued her to recover a nearly $130,000 Land Rover Range Rover, which he said was for her to use, according to a lawsuit filed by Davidson.
Tolliver didn’t return the luxury vehicle after Fleming and she broke up a few months after he bought the vehicle.
Tolliver denied the allegations and filed a counterclaim against Fleming, saying he gave her the vehicle. A judge ruled in August 2019 that Fleming was the owner of the property.
Ludwig, the attorney representing three of the women, also was involved in a lawsuit filed by Fleming and others in 2007. The defendants wanted to stop him from creating a private airstrip on his residential property in a rural area of Pulaski County. Ludwig eventually won that case after it went to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
In 1979, Fleming founded Perfect 10, which manufactured and sold home satellite systems that cost around $2,000 and featured 8- to 10-foot-wide metal dishes that were installed in customers’ backyards.
A shift in the company came in the early 1990s. Fleming was at a trade show when he first saw a direct satellite system — the dish was only 18 inches and cost about $675. “We saw the writing on the wall,” Fleming told Arkansas Business in 2000, and he changed his business plan to make the smaller dishes.
As a result, Perfect 10 became the largest dollar volume distributor of satellite dishes and receivers for DirecTV digital programming. And sales blossomed from $10.3 million in 1995 to $60.2 million in 1999.
The growth didn’t go unnoticed. In 2000, Perfect 10 was a finalist for an Arkansas Business of the Year Award.
The company has also been a mainstay on Arkansas Business’ annual list of the state’s 75 largest private companies. With an estimated revenue of $600 million in 2019, PerfectVison was No. 22 on the most recent list ranked by revenue. Fleming was the president of the company, which had an estimated 425 employees.
But while PerfectVison was enjoying success, Fleming’s alleged personal troubles were just about to be exposed.
In late 2013, according to his lawsuit, Fleming first met Cathcart at Visions, an adult entertainment club. The filing didn’t say which Visions location was the site of the encounter.
Two years later, Fleming was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder with mixed and psychotic features, as well as depression and anxiety, his suit said.
“Cathcart recognized [Fleming] as being vulnerable and ripe for exploitation,” Fleming’s suit said. The suit also said that Cathcart “has a criminal history of substance abuse, terroristic threatening assault and domestic battery.”
She eventually moved into Fleming’s 10,190-SF Little Rock home, built in 2006 and featuring seven bathrooms.
Throughout their relationship, Cathcart would ask Fleming for money and expensive gifts, he said.
He also accused her of taking his credit cards and spending thousands of dollars and of making threats.
Fleming is suing her for outrage for the alleged emotional distress she caused. He said that Cathcart caused him physical, mental, emotional and financial damage, and he is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
Cathcart has a different view of their relationship.
Cathcart said in her court filing that she was 18 when Fleming provided her with so much alcohol that she was unable to give consent. Fleming “knew this, yet had sex with her anyway, then threw money at her,” Cathcart’s counterclaim said. “This was Cathcart’s entry into prostitution.”
She said Fleming falsely promised marriage, money for college and more. She said in the lawsuit that the money Fleming did provide was to keep her “in line and dependent upon future financial contributions in exchange for [Fleming’s] ongoing, depraved sexual demands,” the suit said.
Cathcart’s name also appears in the lawsuits filed by the women represented by Ludwig, including Brittany Risser, 27, of North Little Rock, who filed her lawsuit last week. Fleming was the only named defendant in that case.
In her affidavit, Risser said she met Fleming at Visions when she was 18. “He wanted to get a bunch of girls to go to his house to party,” she wrote.
Risser said she went “and got pretty drunk and the next morning I realized we had had sex.”
She said Fleming paid her $1,000 and that led to regular visits to his Pinnacle Valley home. Between 2013 and 2015, Risser said, Fleming paid her for sex on average once a week and sometimes two or three times.
Fendley and Withrow also had similar experiences with Fleming, according to their affidavits.
Withrow said in her affidavit that she met Fleming in February 2015. Withrow said Cathcart had invited her to Fleming’s home. When Withrow arrived, she said Fleming inspected her ID and “smiled big when he saw that I was 18.”
She said that Fleming started serving her wine. She said she remembers “only bits and pieces. I do know he ended up having sex with me.”
She said the next morning, Fleming told her that she wasn’t a prostitute, and paid her $500, “which became the norm when I visited.”
“Money in exchange for sex,” she wrote. “Pure and simple.”
Withrow said that if she asked for financial help, Fleming would pay her only for sexual favors. According to Withrow, Fleming said the “money I’m giving you is pennies to me.”
She said that over a period of four years, Withrow visited Fleming about once a week and he paid her $500, usually in cash, each time she had sex with him.
During their time together, Withrow said Fleming also flew her on a jet from Little Rock to Florida twice and to Nassau, Bahamas, once. She also said she spent five days on Fleming’s yacht, where she was paid $500 per day for sex.
She said Fleming promised, but never delivered, gifts such as scuba diving lessons, a trip to Las Vegas and money for shopping.
“Looking back, [Fleming] was the master manipulator,” Withrow said. “He dangled money, promised trips to Vegas, marriage, financial security, and other things. Mostly nothing but deception.”
The women are seeking an appointment of a receiver in addition to other damages for violation of the Human Trafficking Act of 2013.