She was living in Charlottesville, Virginia, with Ted Rollins, and they soon would be married. That's when the strange words came via a phone call from Monica Bulich, the woman who had been married to Ted Rollins previously.
Sherry Rollins did not pick up on what she now believes was a warning that Ted Rollins' main interest was not her, but her two young sons from a previous marriage. She now believes that is why Ted Rollins was willing to marry her without a prenuptial agreement. And the lack of a prenup probably explains why Ted Rollins went to extraordinary lengths in the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case to ensure that Sherry Rollins would receive almost nothing from the marital assets, even though she was entitled to an equitable share under the law.
The Rollinses wound up having a tumultuous 14-year marriage that ended with a divorce in 2005. Dissolution of the marriage came in Shelby County, Alabama, even though Sherry Rollins had initiated the proceedings in Greenville, South Carolina, where the family lived, and the case was litigated there for three years. Shelby County Circuit Judge D. Al Crowson did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, but he took it anyway and issued a judgment that was outlandishly favorable to Ted Rollins.
Court records strongly suggest that someone unlawfully paid Crowson under the table to issue a bogus divorce decree, leading to the worst courtroom cheat job I've encountered in the civil arena.
The unlawful outcome of Rollins v. Rollins becomes even more alarming when you consider that Ted Rollins, who belongs to one of the nation's wealthiest family, now is CEO of Campus Crest Communities. That company builds student housing near public universities around the country and has received more than $400 million in Wall Street backing. Ted Rollins' chief market is young people and their parents--even though he has a documented history of abusing young people.
Monica Bulich's words become prophetic when you realize that the Rollins marriage was marked by documented physical abuse of at least one of Sherry Rollins' sons. And Ms. Rollins has told Legal Schnauzer that she now believes her ex husband abused both of her sons.
It's undisputed that Ted Rollins was convicted in 1995 for assaulting his youngest stepson, Zac Parrish, who was 16 years old at the time. It's also undisputed that, two years earlier, North Carolina social services investigated Ted Rollins for child sexual abuse of the same stepson, based on a citizen complaint.
Did Monica Bulich, Ted Rollins' first wife, see this coming? Sherry Rollins now says she thinks the answer is yes.
These thoughts came to light when Ms. Rollins told me about a proposed prenuptial agreement that a family lawyer sent via fax the night before she and Ted Rollins were to leave for their wedding. The proposed prenup contained a number of extraordinary provisions--and it surfaced late, with no opportunity for negotiations--so Ms. Rollins refused to sign.
Here is how she recalls that moment, in a statement to Legal Schnauzer:
I remember when I read the prenup, I thought it was odd that he wanted control over my health care, and general power of attorney over me to sign any document for me. Had I realized and taken the time back then I would have realized the whole marriage was a trap.
I remembered once again Monica Bulich's words on the phone to me when I was living with Ted in Charlottesville: "I know what he wanted with me; you just have to ask yourself what he wants with you . . . an older woman with two kids and nothing. . . ."
Sherry Rollins found those words confusing at the time. But they are not so confusing anymore:
I think she knew he was gay or bi. I think she knew he was after my sons. Wish I could talk to her now that she is much older; she must be 50 by now. I wonder if she could shed some light on her life with [Ted].
Sherry Rollins probably was off target on the science of child molestation. Studies tend to show that gay and bisexual men are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest boys. That means Ted Rollins' sexual orientation probably was not a factor in interactions with his stepsons. A report from the University of California at Davis puts it this way:
The distinction between a victim's gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children--boys, girls, or children of both sexes.
Researchers label some offenders as "fixated" because their interest is almost exclusively in children. Others are termed "regressed" because they have attained some level of mature sexual expression, but return to primitive forms under certain conditions. Extreme stress, for example, can lead them to return to return to an earlier, less mature psychological state and engage in sexual contact with children. From the UC Davis report:
The important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals--who are often characterized as fixated--are attracted to children, not to men or women.
The American Psychological Association put it this way, in a 2001 report:
Studies on who commits child sexual abuse vary in their findings, but the most common finding is that the majority of sexual offenders are family members or are otherwise known to the child. Sexual abuse by strangers is not nearly as common as sexual abuse by family members.
Research further shows that men perpetrate most instances of sexual abuse, but there are cases in which women are the offenders.
Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.
Sherry Rollins might not have the science quite right--and she is not alone in that--but she clearly wishes now that she had understood what Monica Bulich was trying to tell her. She also wonders what Ms. Bulich saw or heard that led her to speak up.
This much is certain: Sherry Rollins saw and heard a lot during her 14-year marriage to Ted Rollins. In a case of history repeating itself, she also passed along a warning about his behavior.
(To be continued)