This is not a story that will warm your heart as we wind down from the holidays. But it does show how we tend to mistreat "the least of these"--and that should be a year-round concern for those who claim to take the New Testament seriously.
At center stage for this immorality play is Mitchell Breland, a former Moulton, Alabama, police officer who was indicted just before Christmas on two counts of child abuse. Playing opposite Breland is Ted Rollins, the CEO of Charlotte-based Campus Crest Communities and a regular subject here because of his leading role in pulling off a monstrous cheat job in an Alabama divorce case styled Rollins v. Rollins.
Public records and published reports show that Ted Rollins committed an act of child abuse that was every bit as monstrous as the acts alleged against Mitchell Breland. Rollins was convicted of misdemeanor assault and paid a small fine, but records indicate he never was investigated for the much more serious offense of child abuse. Breland, meanwhile, faces Class C felony charges that could land him in prison for one to 10 years.
Not only did Ted Rollins receive light treatment from the criminal-justice system, he has gone on to receive solid support from Wall Street. The Vanguard Group, one of America's most prominent investment firms, was a powerful backer in a $380-million IPO that Rollins' company completed in late 2010. Does that mean The Vanguard Group, from its hallowed base in the Philadelphia suburb of Malvern, Pennsylvania, isn't much concerned about child abuse, as long as an abuser can help make money for stockholders? A reasonable person could reach that conclusion.
Why the different outcomes in criminal cases involving Mitchell Breland and Ted Rollins? Well, to be sure, the incidents happened in different states, in different time frames. Rollins was charged in 1995 with beating up his 16-year-old stepson in Franklin County, North Carolina. Breland was arrested last September in Lawrence County, Alabama, on charges that he had beaten two eight-year-old girls.
Here is how a report in the Florence Times Daily describes the charges against Breland:
Authorities said Breland is accused of repeatedly whipping the girls. It was unknown if they were whipped with a belt or some other item.
Reports indicate one girl was beaten so severely that she had to be taken to the hospital. Medical personnel there contacted DHR.
How does that compare to Ted Rollins' actions? Consider the account of Alabama resident Sherry Rollins, who is Ted Rollins' ex wife and the mother of his victim, Zac Parrish (now 33 years old). She said her son's face was a bloody mask after the beating, and emergency medical personnel administered oxygen in a trip via ambulance to a nearby hospital. That is a sign that blood loss was severe enough that the victim was at danger of going into shock. Ms. Rollins said her son suffered a broken nose and numerous lacerations and abrasions. From one of our reports on the incident:
Was there any doubt that Zac Parrish had been abused? Consider Sherry Rollins description of the trip to the hospital with her son. . . .
"In the ambulance, my daughter and I were with him. I believe he was given oxygen. He was badly beaten. He had lacerations around his mouth. Ted had repeatedly beaten him around the mouth area. You could see the inside of his lip hanging down."
Ted Rollins' actions at least match those of Mitchell Breland--and probably were far worse. After all, we know that, two years prior to the beating, North Carolina social-services officials investigated Ted Rollins for child sexual abuse of the same stepson--and that was based on a citizen complaint.
So why did Ted Rollins receive barely a wrist slap, while Breland is facing up to 10 years in prison? (Breland, by the way, already has been terminated from his job.)
It's not as if one state has strict laws on child abuse, while the other takes a lax approach. The statutory language is different, but the meanings of the relevant laws in North Carolina and Alabama are pretty much identical. In a post titled "The Truth About Ted Rollins: The CEO of Campus Crest Communities Got Away With Child Abuse," we showed that child abuse is covered under Chapter 7B of the North Carolina General Statutes.
The heart of the law is found at Section 7B-301, which reads in pertinent part:
7B‑301. Duty to report abuse, neglect, dependency, or death due to maltreatment.
Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent, as defined by G.S. 7B‑101, or has died as the result of maltreatment, shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the department of social services in the county where the juvenile resides or is found. The report may be made orally, by telephone, or in writing. . . .Alabama's Mandatory Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law can be found at Code of Alabama 26-14 (1-13). Alabama's law is wordier than the one in North Carolina, but it's meaning is the same--and the crux of it can be found at Section 26-14-3(a):
(a) All hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, doctors, physicians, surgeons, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, nurses, school teachers and officials, peace officers, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, social workers, day care workers or employees, mental health professionals, members of the clergy as defined in Rule 505 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence, or any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to any child, when the child is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse or neglect, shall be required to report, or cause a report to be made of the same, orally, either by telephone or direct communication immediately, followed by a written report, to a duly constituted authority.
The bottom line? All of the law-enforcement, health-care, and court personnel who handled the Zac Parrish beating in North Carolina were required to report it as a case of suspected child abuse. Public records indicate that numerous individuals violated their duty to report, and that largely is why Ted Rollins never was held accountable.
Key personnel connected to the case in Moulton also were required by law to report suspected child abuse. Published reports indicate medical personnel contacted the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR), and that prompted the investigation of Breland.
Can money and status help America's elites avoid scrutiny, even in cases where a child has been abused?
The stories of Mitchell Breland and Ted Rollins tell us the answer is yes.
Is there any serious doubt that Ted Rollins committed acts of child abuse? Here is a video of Sherry Rollins' eye-witness account of the beating, followed by court documents that show Ted Rollins' conviction for assault:
Ted Rollins Arrested for Assault
Ted Rollins Sentence for Assault