Shauhin Davari tells Inside Edition he dated Sherri Papini when she was a 20-year-old youth counselor and he was just 15 years old. Now 35, he says Papini was a "compulsive liar."
Now, a man who claims he once dated Papini says he’s not a bit surprised she’s in hot water. He also hopes to clear his name following her arrest.
“She’s a compulsive liar,” Shauhin Davari told Inside Edition. “She would not talk to you for three or four days, and then all of a sudden there’d be some fantastical story about what happened.”
Davari says he dated Papini when she was a 20-year-old youth counselor, and he was just 15 years old.
“In retrospect, sure, tons of red flags — that she was a counselor that was going out with a 15-year-old kid,” Davari said.
Now 35, the college professor says Papini’s lies were never-ending — for example, he says she kept insisting she was a skilled surfer.
“I surfed all the time when I was 15, 16 years old," he said. "It’s something that I really enjoyed doing. And she told me that she surfed as well. There was always an excuse as to why she couldn't go surf. And she had to have her surfboard that was at her house, but didn’t have any pictures.”
Davari also says there was a mystery medical condition.
“She was faking a heart condition at one point, and eventually, not only me, but a bunch of people figured out that that was not true,” Davari says.
So when Davari heard that Papini was kidnapped in 2016, he was skeptical.
“I was like, there’s no way. She’s fine. I promise you she’s fine. There’s just no chance that she got kidnapped,” he said.
Papini was arrested last Thursday and accused of faking the abduction that riveted the U.S. nearly six years ago. Three weeks after she was reported missing by her husband, she was found wandering, bruised and branded.
Papini claimed she'd been kidnapped by two Hispanic women who put her in a closet with a bucket with kitty litter in it for her to use as a toilet. She claimed they held her with a chain hooked around her waist.
But cops say Papini was actually hiding out at an ex-boyfriend's residence in Costa Mesa the entire time. To support her story of a kidnapping, authorities say Papini asked the ex-boyfriend to punch her in the face, which he refused to do. Papini then allegedly purposefully hit her head on the bathtub and the bathroom floor.
Authorities say the ex-boyfriend told them that Papini also asked him to brand her.
Davari says he is being wrongly identified as the ex-boyfriend who allegedly hid Papini and wants to set the record straight.
“I want to stop people from thinking I am the guy who hid her or helped or had any contact with her,” Davari said.
Papini is charged with making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and engaging in mail fraud. She faces up to 25 years if convicted of both charges.