Evidence indicates someone altered a key document in the 1995 assault case against Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins. Was the alteration a not-so-subtle attempt to help Rollins avoid jail time in the vicious beating of Zac Parrish, his 16-year-old stepson at the time? Based on our research of pertinent North Carolina law, the answer appears to be yes.
If we are correct, that means someone in authority took steps to protect Rollins, probably because he belongs to one of the nation's wealthiest families and headed a major employer (American Textile Services in Franklin County, North Carolina) when the assault occurred.
Is this a case where a member of the "1 Percent" received favorable treatment that would not be offered to regular folks? It sure looks that way.
And what about the tendency of doctored papers to appear whenever members of the Rollins family are around? We know that employees of Orkin Pest Control held pizza parties to forge customer signatures on termite contracts that had not been fulfilled. Orkin's parent company, Atlanta-based Rollins Inc., is headed by Randall and Gary Rollins, Ted's billionaire cousins. Are the altered documents in North Carolina another example of the Rollins family playing fast and loose with official papers? Does Sidley Austin, the powerful Chicago law firm that has long defended Orkin in all kinds of chicanery, have the clout to get Ted Rollins out of a criminal pickle in North Carolina?
This much is clear: Ted Rollins picked the right state to beat up his stepson. Under North Carolina law, Rollins' actions meet the definition for domestic violence, but that state has weak criminal provisions for enforcing the law. Even in a state as backward as Alabama, Rollins would have faced much more serious repercussions for an act of domestic violence than he did in North Carolina.
The alteration in the Rollins criminal-court file is significant because, under North Carolina law, hospitalization of the victim is a key consideration in an assault charge that could result in jail time. And the alteration involves someone marking out a reference to the fact that Zac Parrish was hospitalized.
That change apparently is the reason Ted Rollins was charged and convicted for a "simple assault," with a sentence of probation and restitution/fines totaling $415. Because Zac Parrish was hospitalized--and also because he suffered significant blood loss and had a broken nose and numerous lacerations and abrasions--Rollins should have been charged with "assault inflicting serious injury."
And that could have meant jail time for the man who now is CEO of Campus Crest Communities, a company that builds and manages student-housing developments at 33 universities around the country.
So how did Ted Rollins manage to be charged for a relatively minor offense instead of the much more serious crime he actually committed. The answer can be found in the warrant for arrest and criminal bill of costs in the court file. (Both documents appear at the end of this post.)
Come along with us for a brief guided tour, showing how a Wall Street titan catches a huge break in a criminal case. Do you believe that we have a justice system that applies the law equally across socioeconomic boundaries? If so, you probably will no longer believe that when you have finished our tour.
We start in the upper right-hand corner of the warrant for arrest. That's where someone has written a description of events in the beating of Zac Parrish. The description is written next to the words "Simple Assault [G.S. 14-33(a)] and strike." Not all of the narrative is legible, and the grammar is cringe inducing, but here is what we can make out:
Jack [sic] Parrish by hit him about face and mouth where Mr. . . .
At that point, someone has marked out the following words:
Parrish was taken to the hospital to seek medical treatment . . .
On the top line of the "Simple Assault" section, two or three illegible words have not been marked out. Our best guess is that they say "in shocking status." If that is correct, it appears to be a reference to the fact that Zac Parrish was in danger of going into shock after the assault. And that narrative fits with the words of Sherry Carroll Rollins (Zac Parrish's mother and Ted Rollins' ex wife) in our interview about the beating.
Ms. Rollins stated that she and her daughter, Sarah Rollins, rode in an ambulance with Zac Parrish to the emergency room at Franklin Regional Medical Center in Louisburg, North Carolina. Ms. Rollins also stated that she believes her son was given oxygen during transport. Our research indicates that emergency-medical personnel often administer oxygen to patients who appear to be at risk for going into shock, perhaps from blood loss. That might explain why a word that looks like "shocking" or "shock" appears on the arrest warrant.
What kind of con man (or woman) marked out the words about Zac Parrish's trip to the hospital? It apparently was not a very smart one. In another court document (see page 2 of the second document below), a criminal bill of costs for Ted Rollins includes restitution to Franklin Regional Medical Center. It's obvious that Zac Parrish was, in fact, hospitalized--even though that improperly was not considered in the charge and punishment against Ted Rollins.
What about the possibility of a domestic-violence charge against Ted Rollins? Over the past 10 years or so, all states have adopted laws to address domestic violence. Some laws, however, have more teeth than others. Under North Carolina law, Ted Rollins' beating of Zac Parrish matched the description of domestic violence, outlined at General Statute 50B. Here is the definition, in pertinent part. (The full definition can be read here.)
(a) Domestic violence means the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship, but does not include acts of self‑defense:
(1) Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury . . .
Unfortunately for Zac Parrish, remedies under North Carolina law focus on civil actions, such as restraining orders. There are no special criminal provisions for domestic violence; such acts are covered under regular criminal statutes. That is not the case in Alabama. In fact, I'm pleased to say this is a rare instance where our state actually looks progressive on an issue.
If Ted Rollins had committed such a beating in Alabama--where Zac Parrish, age 33, now lives--he would have been at risk for losing his freedom, assuming the law was applied correctly. A summary of Alabama domestic-violence law is available here. In Alabama, as in North Carolina, a domestic-violence relationship includes a child. But the Alabama law has real criminal teeth. Ted Rollins' actions, as described to us, would constitute a second-degree assault, which is a Class C felony. Under Code of Alabama 13A-6-131, that would be second-degree domestic violence, which is treated as a serious crime:
Domestic violence in the second degree is a Class B felony, except the defendant shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of six months without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any reduction in time for any second or subsequent conviction under this subsection.
Translation: Ted Rollins would have been looking at six months in the slammer if he had been convicted of beating his stepson in Alabama, instead of North Carolina. Even under the lenient criminal statutes of North Carolina, Rollins probably would have been subject to jail time if someone had not altered court documents in his case.
Ted Rollins Arrested for Assault
Ted Rollins Sentence for Assault