Sunday, July 09, 2017

COMMENTARY -- University of Alabama's Decisive Role in Denying Justice To Megan Rondini - Donald V. Watkins 

UA's Decisive Role in Denying Justice to Megan Rondini
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on July 9, 2017
Terry Jackson "Sweet T" Bunn, Jr., hunts big-game animals in Africa and young women in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Both are conquests and trophies to him. The animals are mounted on the walls of his home. The women are usually discarded after each conquest.
After BuzzFeed News introduced Sweet T to the world on June 22, 2017, a new profile of him began to emerge. Thanks to the courage of 20-year old Megan Rondini and her willingness to press rape charges against Sweet T for a sexual encounter that occurred at his Tuscaloosa home on the night of July 1, 2015, we have now been provided with a unique opportunity to explore the underbelly of an oligarchy of wealthy and powerful individuals and businesses that are able to protect its members and their children from criminal prosecutions in alleged rape cases.
The photo below shows Sweet T (left) and Jason Barksdale (right) inside Innisfree Irish Pub at 10:44 p.m. CST on the night of Megan's alleged rape. Barksdale posted this photo on his Facebook page at 11:06 p.m. that Wednesday night. The expression on Sweet T's face says it all. He was ready for his next conquest.
Both men wound up at Sweet T's house on the night in question. Megan was with them. Both are central figures in Megan's rape case.
Innisfree was one of Sweet T's regular hangouts in 2015. It is also a spot where older males prey on young University coeds.
The Oligarchy Shut Down Megan's Attempt at Criminal Justice
Once Megan named Sweet T as her rapist, the oligarchy immediately began to shut down any chance Megan had of receiving criminal justice in her case. It is important to pay attention to how this was done and what key players were involved.
The shutdown started with Sheriff Ron Abernathy and his direct order to investigators Adam Jones and Josh Hastings to "script" Megan's rape report. In "street" language, the investigators were ordered to do the bare minimum necessary to open and close a rape file in Megan's case. They complied with this order.
Next, Tuscaloosa District Attorney Lyn Head received the scripted police file and closed Megan's rape case several weeks later with no investigation beyond the scope of investigative work ordered by Abernathy. Megan's rape kit and urine samples, which were taken from her at DCH Regional Medical Center before Megan arrived at the Sheriff's Department, were never sent to a forensic lab for testing. This critical omission of duty by investigators ensured that there would be no scientific evidence on the question of whether Sweet T drugged and/or raped Megan on the night in question.
In the absence of forensic evidence, DA Head was able to reduce Megan's case to a "she said/he said" rape allegation. Without a urine analysis, Sweet T's claim of consensual sexual activity with Megan could not be challenged from a forensic standpoint. As a matter of law, a rape victim who has been drugged to the point of incapacitation cannot consent to sexual intercourse.
Current prosecutor Hays Webb guards the grave of injustice in Megan's case. He could have easily asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor in Megan's case, but has not done so. Like Head, the acceptance of laundered Bunn campaign money has also tainted Webb.
Because she was despondent and had been betrayed by Sheriff Abernathy, his investigators, and DA Lyn Head, Megan Rondini eventually committed suicide.
The system had worked well for Sweet T, Abernathy, and Head until Megan killed herself on February 26, 2016. This is when Head took Megan's rape case before a grand jury the following month as a prophylactic measure to protect herself from exposure to obstruction of justice and lack of "honest government services" charges arising from her actions in closing Megan's rape case in July 2015 without a proper law enforcement investigation. The grand jury presentation allowed Head and Abernathy, both of whom had taken laundered Bunn family campaign money, to lay blame on grand jurors for a failure to act in the case.
UA's Participation in the Scheme to Deny Megan Justice
The big shocker in the web of deception and obstruction of justice arising from the Megan Rondini rape case is The University of Alabama and its conduct. The University has actively aided and abetted Ron Abernathy, Lyn Head, and Hays Webb in robbing Megan of the criminal justice she sought on the night she filed her rape report.
First, the University has steadfastly failed and refused to demand a full, thorough, and fair investigation of Megan's alleged rape by an independent special prosecutor. Ron Abernathy and Lyn Head could not legitimately pursue justice in Megan's case because they had taken a considerable amount of laundered campaign money from the construction company owned by Sweet T's father, Terry Jackson Bunn, a member of the powerful University President's Cabinet. Their acceptance of Bunn money created conflicts of interest for them that were not disclosed to Megan or her family.
Adding insult to injury, Lyn Head, took a separate laundered campaign contribution from T.J. Bunn, Jr., the criminal suspect named in Megan's rape report. Head accepted this dirty money after her campaign for district attorney was over and she had been defeated in her election bid.
After BuzzFeed News broke Megan's story, University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell and the Board of Trustees fell into an eerie silence on the subject of Megan's alleged rape and her subsequent suicide. This silence kept the spotlight off of Sheriff Abernathy's wife Leslie, who is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University. ST Bunn Construction Company is a listed $100,000 to $499,999 "Crimson Alliance" contributor to the University's Crimson Tide Foundation. Leslie Abernathy's job is to nurture this type of donor relationship and to use the University's network of alliance partners and sphere of influence to protect this flow of money.
Occasionally, Sheriff Abernathy assists his wife in the discharge of her duties by solving thorny law enforcement problems for big-money donors and powerful members of the University President's Cabinet. Sweet T's father, Terry Jackson Bunn, Sr., enjoyed membership in both groups. Membership in these groups has certain benefits and privileges, including a special form of "protectionism" and "immunity from prosecution" for crimes where the arresting officers and local prosecutor have enormous discretion in how they develop and assess the evidence in a case.
The University's deafening silence in Megan's rape case is tied directly to the Bunn family's cozy relationship with the University and the University's symbiotic relationship with Ron and Leslie Abernathy.
The University Sides with the Bunn Family
The University has chosen a side in this rape case, and it is not with Megan or her family. The University's silence in Megan's case is designed to send a powerful message to Tuscaloosa's oligarchy that The University of Alabama will protect its members and their families under the most difficult of circumstances. The University's "count me in" mentality and remarkable display of loyalty to the Bunn family in Megan's high-profile rape case undergirds and protects the sustained and reliable flow of big donor money to the University and its legacy programs.
President Stuart Bell and the Board of Trustees have access to the same information about Sweet T that has been published on my Facebook page. At this juncture, they are allowing the University to knowingly and willingly participate in a cover-up in Megan's alleged rape case. By aligning the University with Ron Abernathy, Lyn Head, Hays Webb, and their cohorts, the University has chosen to elevate and safeguard its relationships with the Bunn family and Sheriff Abernathy over the competing interest in protecting female UA students from rape and pursuing criminal justice in Megan's case.
The University's actions in Megan Rondini's case speak louder than its deafening silence.


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