Courtroom Clashes Led to TBI Perjury Investigation Against Detective
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the testimony of a Gatlinburg detective, given in Hamilton county juvenile court last Monday.
District Attorney General Neal Pinkston accuses Detective Rodney Burns of changing his testimony from what was originally reported after a violent attack on a local student during Christmas week.
(FEB 15, 2016 Pinkston/Burns) “Did you really get hurt? No! Were they really hitting you hard? Well, they were hitting us but not as hard as they could. OK. You seem to be minimizing all this…No, no..I’m just telling the truth, sir. I’m just telling the truth! That’s what we’re here about ..the truth.”
Judge Rob Philyaw joined state Senator Todd Gardenhire and district attorney Neal Pinkston in criticizing the testimony of Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns last Monday. The hearing was called to determine if 3 coaches, in a timely manner, reported the attack on a young basketball player by older members of the team during. Christmas week in Sevier county. The 15 year old suffered serious injuries from a pool cue forced into his rectum.
D.A. Neal Pinkston clashed with Burns about his testimony that other players had been subjected to the same harassment..but were not hurt.
(MORE HEARING) “If that’s good for one, they were all, as you mentioned a minute ago..treated in a similar fashion but for the injuries..that would be 4 rapes, not one. (Burns) Sir, i worked, no, that is not true. It did not go in their rectum…did you not say a moment ago that they were all treated in a similar fashion..except for injuries…that’s not what I said, sir..I’m asking ..that’s not what I’m saying, sir. ”
Those details aside, Judge Rob Philyaw bound over the charges against the three to a grand jury, but he admitted some rules for reporting such abuse may be ambigious.
JUDGE ROB PHILYAW, JUVENILE COURT “Sen. Gardenhire I trust that you and your colleagues will give us some clarity on these matters from Nashville ….”
SEN. TODD GARDENHIRE (R) CHATTANOOGA ” I’m sure they thought they did the right thing for the young man who was hurt. But what happened to those other three? What happened to maybe 5 or ten before that? ..at other schools.? ”
Gardenhire is now working with other legislators to close the loop-holes for reporting sexual abuse.
Pinkston has not identified which parts of Burns’ testimony may have changed from his original report, when he testified in Chattanooga.
Late Thursday, an attorney for Detective Burns issued a statement saying the 25-year veteran of the Gatlinburg police force denies the, quote, “baseless and reckless allegation of District Attorney General Neal Pinkston that he committed perjury” during the Monday hearing.
He added: “General Pinkston seems more concerned with his own publicity than the well-being of the victims of these assaults.”