What, indeed, do former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins have in common?
The answer is easy: They both have documented records as child abusers.
So why are officials in higher education trying to distance themselves from everything and anyone having connections to one child abuser while seemingly jumping into the arms of the other? Why is Sandusky viewed as a "monster" after his conviction for the sexual abuse of boys in and around the Penn State campus? Why is Rollins welcomed with open arms, even though public records show he was convicted for assault in the brutal beating of his 16-year-old stepson in 1995.
Both cases involved varying forms of child abuse. The Rollins beating took place in Franklin County, North Carolina, and under that state's laws, health-care and law-enforcement responders were required to report it as a case of suspected child abuse. They failed to follow the law, just as several key figures in the Sandusky case now are accused of doing.
At the risk of sounding like we are defending Jerry Sandusky--and he did, in fact, engage in monstrous conduct--it's perhaps worth noting that we've seen no reports indicating that any of his victims was in danger of dying. That's not the case with the Rollins beating. According to the words of an eyewitness, the stepson was rushed to a hospital via ambulance and administered oxygen, a sign he was in danger of going into shock because of blood loss--and that can be deadly.
Three more universities recently decided to enter into student-housing projects with Campus Crest Communities. That means 36 schools around the country now have such projects, under The Grove banner, completed or in various stages of development. Those include Auburn University here in Alabama.
The latest universities to join the Campus Crest stable are Colorado State University, Ball State University, and the University of Oklahoma. According to a company press release dated July 20, 2012, Ted Rollins sounds delighted at the prospect of providing housing for young people--even though he has a record of beating the holy crap out of one young person who was under his care:
"These are the first three projects of this year's development pipeline. They are located an average of approximately 0.2 miles from campus and represent our ninth generation project prototype, which among other things has a higher average bed count than the existing portfolio, our newest high speed internet configurations (100 megabytes or greater) and various other improvements designed to make college living at a Grove property an unparalleled experience," said Ted W. Rollins, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Campus Crest Communities. "As a result of continued improvements in the efficiencies of our vertically integrated platform, we continue to increase our quality offerings to the students at attractive asset costs. Our on campus property at Colorado State is part of our continued approach to pursue on campus opportunities when it makes economic sense, and we are excited to add this one to our portfolio. Our teams are working on finalizing the entitlement process for the remaining 2013/2014 academic year projects, and we anticipate announcing these later this year."
Gosh, this guy isn't at a loss for words, is he? So why has he refused our requests for an interview about issues connected to the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case here in Alabama, which resulted in his ex wife and two daughters winding up on food stamps? When we sent him questions in writing, which he promised to address, why has he never responded?
Actually, I did get one brief response when I asked him specifically, via e-mail, about the abuse of his stepson. Here it is:
I am not in the habit of wasting time on rubbish such as yours.
So Ted Rollins views issues related to child abuse as "rubbish," and responding to questions about child abuse is "wasting time"?
Do university officials have any idea what they are dealing with here? Does the public have any idea about the kind of person who is being welcomed onto taxpayer-funded campuses?