Over the years, the long-running NBC police-procedural series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ has featured some of the most reprehensible antagonists on television, even more so than the other entries in the ‘Law & Order’ franchise. This is due to the nature of the crimes the series deals with. One such criminal that the SVU team encounters is Billy Tripley. Portrayed by Will Keenan, Tripley is a pedophile and rapist who pays hush money to the parents of one of his victims and eventually draws the attention of the authorities. He is also one of the few perpetrators on the show that successfully evades a conviction. Here is everything you need to know about him. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Who is Billy Tripley in Law and Order?
Billy Tripley appears in only one episode of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ (season 5 episode 19; ‘Sick’) but leaves a long-standing impact on the narrative as well as the viewers of the series. As mentioned above, he is one of the few criminals who manage to get away, despite the SVU’s best efforts. The episode begins with two girls arguing amongst themselves. They are slasher fans who have become disturbed after reading messages about murdering a five-year-old girl, posted by a user calling themselves “PsychoKiller.” The girl lives in Denver, Colorado. They inform the local authorities, who reach out to their counterparts in New York City as the aforementioned username is traced to the Big Apple.
It turns out that an adolescent boy named J.J. Ostilow posted those messages. J.J. seems hostile, aggressive, and abusive. The SVU finds evidence showing that he mutilated his sister’s dolls. Despite his father’s objections, J.J. is placed in the adolescent ward of Bellevue. However, the detectives soon discover that during a fight with a bully at his former school, J.J. repeatedly screamed “rape.” Connecting that with his behavior, the SVU concludes that the young boy was a victim. Interviewed by Dr. George Huang, J.J. confides that billionaire toy mogul Billy Tripley sexually assaulted him during what was supposed to be a slumber party in his “Treasure Room.” He also states that his parents signed a non-disclosure agreement after Tripley paid them.
Tripley is subsequently arrested, and he and his lawyer deny the charges. When the SVU asks for his pubic hair samples, Tripley claims he is shaved. However, when J.J. correctly states specific details about Tripley, including that he has a birthmark on his manhood, it gives the detectives enough evidence to put the billionaire on trial.
How Did Billy Tripley Evade the SVU?
A video is sent to the court on the day Tripley is supposed to appear for the trial. There, J.J. appears to be recanting his statement. J.J.’s father is held in contempt of the court, and the SVU tracks J.J. down in Maine, but he escapes to Canada with his uncle. This leaves the court with no other choice but to release Tripley.
A second allegation is brought forth against Tripley, but it ultimately turns out to be false. A woman named Nora Hodges claims that Tripley sexually abused her granddaughter, April. But the SVU discovers that Nora concocted the entire thing with the hopes of blackmailing Tripley. She has already been using her granddaughter in a cancer fraud scam by exposing the younger woman to mercury.
This is the second case against Tripley that falls apart. Following his release, Tripley holds a victory party in the presence of the media. Although most of the world thinks he is innocent, the SVU team knows better. Real-world allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson reportedly inspired Tripley’s case.
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