The family of Ashley Olsen, the American artist slain in Florence a month ago, broke their silence, criticizing the “offensive” media coverage of her story.
“Some of the reports in the media and statements made by the man accused of taking her life (who was not an acquaintance of hers) are contrary to Ashley’s morals, beliefs and personality as we know her,” her parents Walter and Paula and sister Gabrielle wrote in a letter released Tuesday.
Olsen, who was originally from Summer Haven, Florida, was found strangled at her apartment in Florence. A man has been arrested in connection to her death, but his attorney said her death was an accident.
Several news outlets, including CNN, quoted investigators saying that, in the hours preceding her death, Olsen, 35, had consensual sex with the man accused of killing her. The family dispute this version, saying that could not have been not consensual. In the days before her death, they explain, Olsen had been taking antibiotics to cure a severe bladder infection.
“She never would have consented to any sexual activity with anyone during this timeframe, and in light of her medical condition, it simply would not make sense,” the letter reads.
They also added that “if it is true, as the authorities declared during a press conference, that Ashley was under the influence of alcohol or other substances, then any type of sexual activity that she might have had that night was not consensual. She was not the kind of girl who would have consented, willingly.”
Some media reports also described Olsen as a party girl and speculated about her sexual life and claims that she used drugs.
“The fact that she spent her last hours in a club is not a sin nor should it be used to judge her character or her lifestyle. It is therefore unacceptable, offensive and deeply wrong to think — as has been insinuated — that she “deserved what later happened to her” simply because she allowed a stranger in a public place to talk to her.”
“While, we cannot bring Ashley back, we can help keep her legacy as a beautiful, kind-hearted woman alive,” they wrote in the letter, which also describes how she fell in love with Florence and then fulfilled her dream of living in Italy, while pursuing a passion for art and fashion.