Ben Nicholson is a chemical manufacturer from New York City with ties to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. He was briefly suspected of raping and beating his wife Corinne into a coma, but was cleared by testimony from his daughter. (SVU: "Savant")
Ben Nicholson was the loving father of Katie Nicholson, a sweet little girl with considerable special needs. He was also a high-ranking employee at a chemical manufacturing company. For years, his salary sufficed to make life comfortable for Katie, his wife Corinne and himself, but when Katie needed heart surgery, the family budget became strained, and Ben went looking for some... extra markets for his company's products. At some point, he made contact with Mr. Kim, an agent of the North Korean government.
Unfortunately for him, he was hardly a brilliant criminal, and ended up being netted by the Department of Homeland Security, which offered him a choice: help them bust Mr. Kim and his associates, or go to jail. Needless to say, he chose the former option.
The government helped relieve some of Ben's financial concerns, but his new job required him to spend more time away from home with less ability to say what he was doing, which did not sit well with Corinne. She grew to resent having to take care of Katie all the time and began having an affair with Joel Parven, another parent from a support group for parents of mentally-handicapped children, who happened to be on the outs with his wife at the time. By July 2007, Corinne had become pregnant by Joel.
Everything came to a head on October 3, 2007. That night, Joel arrived at the Nicholsons' house just after Corinne had put Katie to bed. He had begun to reconcile with his wife, and therefore intended to break things off with Corinne that night, but the two ended up having sex one last time. Unbeknownst to them, Joel had been followed by his son Alex. Meanwhile Ben, who was supposedly off on a business trip (actually doing work for the government), had returned to the neighborhood intending to discuss ending the marriage with Corinne, but ended up just circling their apartment in a taxi, unable to bring himself to face her. Joel left the apartment, at which point Alex stormed in and attacked Corinne, beating her into a coma. Katie, having heard the whole thing, rushed into her parents' bedroom and found her mother bleeding. She panicked and ran from the apartment into the street, where she was found by Ben.