Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Standing Up For Megan Rondini - By Donald V. Watkins - June 28, 2017 

  Standing Up For Megan Rondini
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on June 28, 2017
A sexual encounter on the night of July 1, 2015 at the home of T.J. "Sweet T" Bunn, Jr., set in motion a series of events and failures that ultimately led an emotionally despondent University of Alabama student named Megan Rondini to commit suicide on February 26, 2016. Was Megan's encounter with Sweet T that night a sexual assault, as she alleged, or was it a consensual one-night stand?
Based upon what is publicly known today, I have reason to believe Megan's account of her encounter with Sweet T on the night in question. Over the next few months, I will be shifting through the facts and circumstances in this case in an effort to shed additional light on this encounter and the officials who bullied and betrayed Megan during and after she reported it as a sexual assault. I will also find out whether other women had similar sexual experiences with Sweet T.
If Sweet T committed a sexual assault against Megan Rondini on the night in question and this criminal act set in motion a series of events and failures that ultimately led to Megan's death, then we may have moved beyond the original allegations of sexual assault and entered the zone of other felony charges, including manslaughter.
Before I go too far down the road with my Megan Rondini investigation, I want to afford officials at the University of Alabama and those law enforcement officials who are charged with the responsibility for administering justice in Megan's case a fair opportunity to stand up for her.
I will start with Dr. Stuart Bell. Megan's encounter with Sweet T occurred fourteen days before Dr. Bell became the University's president. However, the pathetic, self-serving, and disingenuous press release issued by the University on June 23rd occurred on Dr. Bell's watch. A university president should always be the Number One advocate for his/her students and their right to a safe college experience.
Will you stand up for Megan Rondini, Dr. Bell? The University's June 23rd press release has shaken my confidence in you. We will learn from Megan's case whether you are a real president, or a coward masquerading as one. The next time the University issues a press release about Megan Rondini, it should be one calling for the Tuscaloosa district attorney's office to explore all possible criminal charges in Megan's case.
Next in line are two state prosecutors – Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. Mr. Webb was appointed by former governor Robert Bentley in September of 2016 to serve out the term of his predecessor. He was elected to a full term on November 8, 2016. Mr. Webb's predecessor reportedly presented Megan's sexual assault case against Sweet T to a local grand jury a few weeks after her death. The grand jury apparently took no action against Sweet T.
Will you stand up for Megan Rondini, Mr. Webb? You have the power and authority to pursue justice for Megan and her family. Will you use it for this worthy cause?
Attorney General Steve Marshall, you have been in office since February and have yet to prosecute a single high-profile criminal case. It is widely believed that you are afraid of big cases involving powerful members of the wealthy oligarchy that runs Alabama. Are you willing to properly investigate the series of events and litany of failures that led to Megan's death? Are you willing to prosecute any law enforcement official whose bullying and betrayal of Megan led to her suicide? Is that a bridge too far for you, Mr. Marshall?
Members of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, will you stand up for Megan Rondini? This young woman was a UA honors student when she encountered Sweet T on the night of July 1, 2015. Megan's family entrusted her safety and well being to you, as institutional guardians, while she was a UA student. I served for eight years on the board of trustees at one of Alabama's three Level-Six degree granting state universities. I know what proactive steps trustees can take to demand justice in this type of situation. The public does not want to hear any tired, worn-out excuses for why you cannot stand up for Megan in this case. Can we count on each board member to stand up for Megan and her family?
So that we are clear, Megan Rondini did everything she was supposed to do after escaping from the second floor, locked bedroom in Sweet T's house. She immediately went to a local hospital for a forensic rape examination. Afterwards, Megan was taken directly to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department to report her allegations of a sexual assault against Sweet T.
From this point forward, I will not allow any public official who bullied or betrayed Megan in life to trash her in death. This simply will not happen on my watch.
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