ORLANDO, Fla. – A YouTube video producer accused of molesting a 15-year-old actress at a Central Florida hotel must remain in the United States as he awaits trial, an Orange County circuit court judge has ruled.
Ian Rylett, 55, indicated in court papers that he wanted to return to his home in the United Kingdom to resume work on his wildly popular YouTube channels featuring tween girls, including "Seven Super Girls."
Orange County deputies arrested Rylett last month for allegedly molesting the teen, who had just signed a talent contract to appear in his YouTube videos.
After Rylett's arrest, a judge set his bond at $450,000, due to his wealth. Last year, he earned $1 million from his company, Starcast Productions Ltd., according to court records.
As a condition of his pretrial release, the judge ordered Rylett to surrender his passport and prohibited him from contact with anyone under the age of 18 other than his own daughter.
Last week Rylett asked Orange County Circuit Judge Leticia Marques to return his passport so he can return to the U.K. while awaiting trial.
Rylett also asked the judge to lift the restriction barring him from interacting with juveniles, apparently so he can resume posting YouTube videos.
"Mr. Rylett seeks to have the condition of no contact with children under 18 removed because if that condition remains in place, the 'Seven Super Girls' series will remain in an interrupted status, causing injury to the seven actresses and their families," Rylett's attorney, Matthew Ferry, wrote in a motion.
Asistant State Attorney Jenny Rossman questioned whether Rylett can resume his business since YouTube blocked his videos from earning advertising revenue following Rylett's arrest.
"YouTube has suspended the ability of this channel to generate any money," Rossman told the judge.
As for Rylett's passport, his attorney points out that the U.K. citizen's travel visa expires in early November, long before his trial could occur.
"He'll be here illegally, in violation of federal law," said Ferry, who indicated Rylett is currently living in an undisclosed hotel without the ability to work.
"The state's position is that if Mr. Rylett's passport is returned to him, we will never see Mr. Rylett again," said Rossman.
She suggested Rylett may have the financial means to move to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.
"Even if he overstays his visa, the federal government would give him some kind of deferred action so he would not be deported," said Rossman, who indicated she has been in communication with federal immigration and Department of Homeland Security officials about Rylett.
Rylett has pleaded not guilty to lewd and lascivious molestation, a second-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Rylett's attorney claims the alleged victim might have a financial motivation for accusing his client of molestation.
"It appears the alleged victim's mother is upset with the funds they're being paid. The daughter is accusing the mother of taking her money that she's been paid for appearing on this particular channel," said Ferry.
The defense attorney also suggested that the teen's mother was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the alleged incident.
"Law enforcement interviewed other girls that are featured on these various channels, and not one of them complained of any inappropriate sexual conduct of any kind," said Ferry.
Ferry acknowledged that the alleged victim and her mother signed a talent contract that allowed Rylett to wrap the actress's breasts in an elastic bandage to make them appear smaller.
"The channel's sponsorships require the girls to look younger than 16 years of age," said Ferry. "So the alleged victim and her mother agreed to this chest-binding."
Prosecutors said Rylett originally refused to give detectives a copy of that contract, which they said is illegal.
"Talent and Parent understand and agree that Talent's body proportions are not optimal," the contract reportedly stated. "Talent and Parent understand and agree that certain activities, practices, procedures, shoots or projects will involve talent being seen in a state of undress and it is likely there will be physical or bodily contact, potentially of an intimate nature."
Among those activities was "chest-binding," according to prosecutors.
"Talent and Parent hereby agree and consent without limitation, objection or question to Talent being subject to physical or bodily contact of any type on any part or parts of the body, for any reason or any purpose, and Talent shall remove any items of clothing as directed by management," the contract stated, according to prosecutors.
"This contract was used as a sophisticated way for Mr. Rylett to engage in inappropriate sexual activity with the victim," Rossman told the judge Monday. "The defendant had been zeroing in on the victim, that he gave her more attention than any of the other girls. He only entered into a contract with her, none of the other girls."
According to prosecutors, Rylett later admitted to his female manager that he should have never been alone with the 15-year-old in his hotel room.
"She was always present for any kind of photo shoots or costume try-ons or anything involving any of the girls getting undressed," said Rossman. "This was the first time something was done behind closed doors without her present.”
Marques denied Rylett’s motion to modify the conditions of his bond. Her written order does not provide a reason for the rejection.