Sheriff Ron Abernathy Ordered Investigators To "Script" Megan Rondini's Rape Case
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on July 6, 2017
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on July 6, 2017
Tuscaloosa Sheriff Ron Abernathy directed his criminal investigators to "script" Megan Rondini's rape case. In law enforcement jargon, Abernathy's order to "script" the case meant that investigators Adam Jones and Josh Hastings should only do bare minimum work on this case and nothing more.
This is how and why Megan's allegations of rape against T.J. "Sweet T" Bunn, Jr., got downgraded from a full blown rape investigation to a mere "special inquiry" report that was parked in the Department's files.
Jones and Hastings are experienced criminal investigators. Yet, they failed to: (a) send Megan Rondini's rape kit and urine sample to a forensic lab for testing; (b) take extensive interview notes on the details of Megan's rape allegations; (c) interview Megan's friends who were with her at Innisfree Irish Pub; (d) question Sweet T in detail about his interaction with Megan, from the time they saw each other at the Pub to the time she left his house; (e) investigate Sweet T for personal drug use, or his possible drugging of Megan on the night in question; (f) investigate Sweet for prior sexual assault allegations lodged and reported by other women; and (g) follow a litany of established protocols for fully and properly investigating allegations of rape.
Jones took "scripting" the investigation a step further when he read Megan her Miranda rights. This tactic was intended to make Megan withdraw or abandon her rape allegations. After expressing concern for future rape victims of Sweet T, Megan insisted on moving forward with her rape charges against him.
Megan was unaware that her case was the second time Ron Abernathy had interceded on Sweet T's behalf in an alleged sexual assault case. The first instance occurred around 2009 or 2010 after Sweet T was named as a suspect in an alleged sexual assault that happened at his camp house on Fosters Loop Road in Tuscaloosa County. Abernathy, who was then the chief deputy sheriff, advised Sheriff Edmund "Ted" Sexton against taking criminal action in the case because it would "stir things up" with Terry Jackson Bunn, Sr., who is Sweet T's well-known, politically connected, and wealthy father.
Terry and his brother Sonny own ST Bunn Construction Company. For decades, the Bunn family has been a part of the oligarchy that runs Alabama. They are also big-money donors to political action committees that fund Tuscaloosa-based state and local politicians. Additionally, they are big contributors to the University of Alabama.
Sheriff Sexton politely ignored Abernathy's unsolicited advice and referred the sexual assault case to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation for an appropriate criminal investigation. The disposition of this case is unknown.
Ron Abernathy's Rise to Sheriff
On the night of November 4, 2014, Ron Abernathy defeated James Taggert to become the Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Abernathy had been the Chief Deputy at the Department since 1999. He began working for the Department as a jail detention officer in 1988. Sexton hired Abernathy to work as a civil service deputy in 1993, where he worked in the custody, detention, patrol and criminal investigations divisions of the Department.
Abernathy is a graduate of the University of Alabama, the Law Enforcement Academy, and the FBI National Academy.
Abernathy's wife Leslie is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University. Her job at UA is to keep corporate donors like the Bunn family businesses happy and to bring home the big corporate dollars.
In Tuscaloosa, Campaign Money Talks
According to campaign finance reports, Abernathy raised $135,195 in campaign contributions, including $4,000 from Pride PAC II on October 6, 2014 and $4,200 from T-Town PAC II on October 24, 2014.
Campaign finance records show that ST Bunn Construction Company contributed $5,000 to Pride PAC II on November 11, 2013 and another $5,000 on October 24, 2014. The company contributed $5,000 to T-Town PAC II on November 11, 2013, $5,000 on July 21, 2014, and $5,000 on October 24, 2014.
If these political action committees sound familiar, it is because Pride PAC II and T-Town PAC II, along with CMG PAC II, funneled substantial ST Bunn Construction Company campaign cash to former Tuscaloosa County DA Lyn Head. These PACS are run by Mike Echols, who was former Robert Bentley's campaign finance chief in 2010 and 2014. Echols is also a friend and political ally of the Bunn family.
According to Lyn Head's campaign finance reports, she pocketed $23,650 in cash that was laundered through these three PACs.
Current DA Hays Webb took $6,340 in ST Bunn Construction Company cash that was laundered through T-Town PAC II and CMG PAC II.
ST Bunn Construction Company contributed $19,250 to T-Town PAC II, from May 21, 2015, to August 31, 2016. Lyn Head started taking her share of T-Town PAC II money on August 4, 2015. Webb started taking his cut of T-Town PAC II money on September 2, 2016.
They Stole Megan's Joy and Took Her Life
There is no dispute that a sexual encounter occurred between Megan and Sweet T on the night of July 1, 2015. Megan claims she was raped. Sweet T claims they had consensual sex.
Immediately after the encounter had ended and Megan had escaped from Sweet T's home, she sought assistance and care at DCH Regional Hospital in Tuscaloosa. Megan timely and properly reported the alleged rape to medical personnel and the Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Department.
The fact that ST Bunn Construction Company cash was given to Sheriff Ron Abernathy, DA Lyn Head, and DA Hays Webb after it had been laundered through PACs was never disclosed to Megan. Likewise, Sweet T's protected status within the Tuscaloosa law enforcement community was never disclosed to Megan.
Abernathy, Head, and Webb had a conflict of interest in the criminal investigation and possible prosecution of Megan's rape case. Once they realized that Sweet T was the suspect in Megan's rape case, they had an affirmative duty to (a) recuse themselves from the case and (b) refer Megan's rape allegations to the State Bureau of Investigation and/or a special prosecutor.
Instead, Ron Abernathy, Adam Jones, Josh Hastings, and Lyn Head "fixed" Megan's alleged rape case for the benefit of Sweet T. They made it go away. Sweet T showed his personal gratitude on February 2, 2016 by sending Lyn Head $500 that was laundered through T-Town PAC II and delivered to Head on April 14, 2016.
From the time Megan entered the Sheriff's Department as an alleged rape victim until the time she died, Abernathy, Head, and Webb owed her a duty to provide their "honest government services." They deprived Megan Rondini of this federally protected right.
Abernathy, Jones, Hastings acted in concert with each other to make Megan think she had done something wrong. They led Megan to believe that she was a criminal suspect solely because of the actions she took to escape from her alleged rapist.
DA Lyn Head looked the other way in Megan's case because she took dirty campaign money. Successor DA Hays Webb never lifted a finger to investigate Megan's rape case or prosecute Sweet T on any criminal charge because he, too, took dirty campaign money.
On February 26, 2016, an emotionally exhausted and heartbroken Megan Rondini committed suicide. The very law enforcement officials who were sworn to protect and serve Megan had pushed her into a deep state of depression and despair. Once she was there, Megan took her own life as a way of escaping from the unbearable state of being that was created by the serial acts of bullying, betrayal, and law enforcement failure.
In the end, they stole Megan's joy and took her life.