MONROE COUNTY GRAND JURY FOREMAN SAYS “I WORK FOR THE STATE” AS REASON TO REFUSES TO HEAR CASE ON CHILD ABUSE
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 15, 2010) — The Post & Email was recently made aware of yet another report of Monroe County, TN corruption, this time regarding the safety and well-being of minor children. Their father, Mr. Daniel Morgan, believes that his children are purposely being kept in an unsafe and abusive environment because of his affiliation with a Christian outreach group founded to report the truth about the corruption in local government. He reports that the child protective services agency is run by the sheriff’s department.
Mr. Morgan is an outreach worker for the organization Christian Citizens against Corruption (TNCCC).
MRS. RONDEAU: What has been your experience in Monroe County, TN, and when did it happen?
MR. MORGAN: Well, my daddy’s been fighting the battle for the last 12 years, and that’s when it basically started. The issues with the court system and things…they just don’t follow the rules. They do what they want to do to financially gain themselves by whatever means necessary. They don’t care, and it’s been going on for years, and they’ve finally gotten a little better about gathering their evidence and stuff, and that’s how the issue with the grand jury came about as far as my case came. about. I was going to present evidence about two DCS workers who covered up child abuse and perjured themselves in my case by placing my children back in harm’s way. The issue is that the grand jury foreman just refused to hear it. Not only that, but you have to sign your rights away to even present something before getting in front of a grand jury panel of three.
MRS. RONDEAU: That’s like a “mini-panel,” right?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, something like that; I don’t know what that’s about. That’s when I first heard about Walt and what he was doing and everything. And that’s how we basically met was with the situation with the grand jury.
MRS. RONDEAU: Who was the grand jury foreman at the time?
MR. MORGAN: Gary Pettway.
MRS. RONDEAU: We know he’s been in place a long time. Did he give a reason why he wouldn’t hear your case?
MR. MORGAN: He said he worked for the state and the DCS workers worked for the state, and he didn’t have no authority to prosecute them.
MRS. RONDEAU: What has since happened to your children?
MR. MORGAN: They’re back with their mother. They just found a pot-growing operation. I have a police report, and the issue is that I had it before the judge, and the judge refused to listen to me. There are programs in place that help people take out a little protection when their lives are in danger, and I actually was able to take one out for my children, because they were in that situation, but the issue is that the people who have got these programs started up wouldn’t even talk to me. They’re not gonna talk to me at all because I’m a member of the TNCCC, the Christian Citizens against Corruption; they know that I’m involved with the newsletters and things that we hand out. So they’re not about to help me here with my children at all.
MRS. RONDEAU: What do they have against the TNCCC?
MR. MORGAN: We present the truth about what’s happening around here in the community. The local newspapers won’t print the truth. They claim that they’re printing truth, but they print what the sheriff wants, and they all work together in order to keep the wool pulled over the people of Monroe County’s eyes, but they don’t know what’s really going on. We present the truth of what’s really going on with the evidence that we have, and when you present it, I even had a gentleman, Travis Jones, who made an attempt on my life. I was very afraid for my life, me and another gentleman, and we had to make a Tennessee Highway Patrol report on that for protection. This case with my children has been going on for the past five years now.
MRS. RONDEAU: So your children are in what you consider to be a very unsafe and unhealthy environment, and you said there was an attempt made on your life by Travis Jones, who is a detective, correct?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, I actually went to school with him for years. I went to Tellico Plains High School with him, and at the time, he started out as the deputy of Tellico, and since Bivens has taken over, he’s moved up to detective.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think he’s qualified to be a detective?
MR. MORGAN: I’m unsure of his qualifications. I personally have questions, but I understand how people move up. I’m 32 years old; he’s old enough, so I guess if he’s met the qualifications…I don’t know what his qualifications are; I just felt that what he done to me was very unprofessional.
MRS. RONDEAU: How did the attempt on your life come about?
MR. MORGAN: We were at an old folks’ retirement home, and we were talkin’ to some people, and we were passing out what’s called “The Truth,” the little newsletter that we use; it’s a Christian Newswire release, and we reprint ’em and pass ’em out about the truth that’s going on. So I guess someone called him and told him, and he tracked us down and blocked me off, meaning gettin’ out of the parking lot. He kept me hemmed in there for quite a while in his personal vehicle. He wasn’t in a cruiser or nothin’ to identify himself as a police officer, but he was mad and hollerin’ things out the window, and it was strange to me that I rolled the windows up and locked the doors on the vehicle and called the Highway Patrol immediately. You can kind-of tell when someone is angry with you. It was very weird and strange, but everything in the paper was provable; everything that’s typed out is very verifiable.
MRS. RONDEAU: When was the TNCCC founded?
MR. MORGAN: Between four and five years ago.
MRS. RONDEAU: How many families do you reach?
MR. MORGAN: Our funds are very limited, but we reach all that we can. We’re definitely making an impact, because it’s making it all the way to the surrounding counties, and I have people from the other counties callin’ to know what’s going on around here, and I actually have friends living in other counties and are tellin’ me things like when I need to not travel and things of that nature for my protection.
MRS. RONDEAU: So do you print up stories similar to those at The Post & Email on alleged police brutality and walk the streets to distribute your material?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, pretty much so, yes. But most of ’em are more than alleged; we’ve got the evidence, the documents behind it to prove what’s printed.
MRS. RONDEAU: Would you say you have evidence in every case?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, most definitely. There’s nothin’ printed in the paper that we can’t back up.
MRS. RONDEAU: Where do you obtain the evidence of the corruption?
MR. MORGAN: Most of the time, it’s the people that are involved in the CCC and the incidents happened to them, or they were actually present and have access to the information such as police reports or whether it’s just a statement that they’ve made that two witnesses were there at the scene.
MRS. RONDEAU: So these people have the courage to come forward, because I understand that almost everyone is living in fear?
MR. MORGAN: Well, it wasn’t that way until recently. My name was attached to that newsletter, so therefore they threatened my life. It’s just until recently that people are startin’ to stand up and put their name to somethin’. They’re most definitely afraid for their life. I met with a gentleman yesterday who claimed he was from the FBI in Knoxville whose name was Mark Hull. He gave me a generic business card and he came to my residence and talked to me and my father, and he was kind-of insinuating that we were terrorists. He was concerned about the safety of whether we were going to do somethin’ malicious. His questions were kind-of strange.
MRS. RONDEAU: What do you think would have instigated a visit from someone like that if he was who he claimed he was?
MR. MORGAN: I have no idea, other than maybe they’re trying to fabricate somethin’ on me and my father, because we’ve been standin’ up against the corruption that’s goin’ on here in the county. I am a father trying to protect his children, and that’s where my encounter with the grand jury, the encounter with the Tennessee Department of Human Services, even the reason I became a member of the TNCCC was for the safety of my children. So that’s how that came about.
MRS. RONDEAU: Why do you think there’s so much corruption in your area that you had to counter it with what you’re doing through the TNCCC?
MR. MORGAN: Basically, the people not standin’ up and tellin’ people that they cannot do what they’ve been wantin’ to do for years and get away with it: holdin’ the people accountable for when they do something wrong, public officials, whether it be a sheriff’s officer or someone else. Most of the time, that’s done by them intimidatin’ fear, and they don’t realize that it’s goin’ on. They just thought it was a small group, and then they kinda get bigger, and they just kinda take over. They’ve gotten away with it for years; nobody has stood up against ’em; therefore, they think they can do what they want to do. And unless people stand up, they can. And I’m no way calling for any type of violence or anything; we still live in America, and I do believe there’s good people out there that can put an end to this peacefully.
MRS. RONDEAU: Would you say that most people in Monroe County are aware that the police are overly powerful?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, yes, most definitely. When I started puttin’ out my first newsletter about two years ago, people told me, “You better not be puttin’ your name on that, because they’ll kill you. Your life is in danger.” I said, “Well, look, my children are in danger, and if they kill me, then at least I stood up trying to protect my children.” The Tennessee Department of Human Services knows the police, they all kinda work together…this is a small town, and everybody knows everybody, so the issue is “This cop knows this person who works for DCS, and Daniel’s just standin’ up tellin’ stuff about us, so let’s just not let him have his kids and make sure that they stay over there.” Then I asked the question, “What happens when one of my children gets hurt?” and that just about happened last night.
MRS. RONDEAU: So you believe their motivation for allowing your children to stay in what you see as a dangerous situation is to retaliate at you for speaking out?
MR. MORGAN: That’s it exactly. They’re tellin’ me, “You can’t do nothin’ about protecting your children. We’re in charge; we’re the ones who say what happens and what don’t happen.”
MRS. RONDEAU: What are the ages of your children right now?
MR. MORGAN: They are five, seven and eight.
MRS. RONDEAU: Too young to protect themselves, certainly.
MR. MORGAN: Yes, most definitely. And they’re terrified; they’re most definitely terrified.
MRS. RONDEAU: And the state continues to leave them where they are.
MR. MORGAN: Yes, they certainly do. And they know about it. The police report reads that this man that she’s married to that has problems with beatin’ on my kids (she actually married this man), he came home and caught his wife in bed with another man while my children were there. There was a domestic dispute where he was runnin’ her down the road with a gun and a ball bat; the police showed up with him in the jeep; they searched the house for the other gentleman that she claimed wasn’t even there, and they found a pot-growing operation in the closet. So she ran out and took out an order of protection against him and said “I’m divorcing him; he’s out of the house now; he’s no longer the problem,” so as of last month, the children are still with her today. So apparently you can grow pot in your closet and it’s legal.
MRS. RONDEAU: And the fact that you think that this is being continued at the children’s expense to get back at you…
MR. MORGAN: Yes, that’s most definitely what it is. The officer who made the report, I believe, was tryin’ to do his job right, but I believe he was unaware of what was goin’ on. There are some officers who are in the loop and some aren’t. So that’s the issue there, or I wouldn’t even have gotten that report.
MRS. RONDEAU: Would you say that people are starting to stand up as a result of your publications, or are they just as petrified as they were several years ago?
MR. MORGAN: Well, they’re still cautious; they’re not as afraid as they was. They’re more willing to open up because they see that I’m still alive, for one; so they’re more willin’ to stand up and they’re seein’ how I put my name on this, and this is who I’m callin’ out, and if anything happens to me…so bein’ able to print somethin’ is more like an insurance policy. It’s good to know that every time somethin’ happens and you stand up against ’em, you need to get it printed and put out there and put your name on it. And when your name’s on it…”hey, this is what’s happened to me, this is what the sheriff done to me and this is what’s happened…” If anything happens to you, then, you know what? Guess what, who’s done it? Whoever you’re reportin’ on, whether it be the sheriff, a police officer, or whoever it is. Then you’ve done established motive. But the only thing you’ve got to be careful with is what you put out there has to be the truth. That way if somethin’ does happen, you’re not lyin’ on anybody. It only matters what you do.
MRS. RONDEAU: Were all of the people who started the TNCCC publications victimized at some point?
MR. MORGAN: Some of ’em have been, yes. I was one of ’em. Not all of them have been, but they’ve seen the things goin’ on. A lot of them were very close to me, and they seen what was goin’ on with my children and they were appalled at what was goin’ on and how I was standin’ up about it, ’cause I made a big stink about my children bein’ beatin’ on; what parent wouldn’t? And the issue is, if you rub the people the wrong way; so they went to seein’ that, and that’s why they got involved. And at times, they were even scared enough to the point where they don’t want to be involved anymore. They believe in what I’m doin’ and they support me; but some of ’em are afraid to get involved. But it’s kinda startin’ to change a little bit now.
MRS. RONDEAU: That’s very encouraging, and with you being in the media business, you would have a better sense of that than the average person on the street.
MR. MORGAN: Yeah, right. When the sheriff sends somebody to threaten your life and you’re still alive six months later, then that tells me that I’m makin’ an effect somewhere. So that’s the issue with that.
MRS. RONDEAU: You mentioned a little about your working in your dad’s business for about 12 years and that you lost the business. Was that the result of Monroe County corruption?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, the “business as usual” is what I call it. It’s the business as usual. I’m the kind of person that I tell it the way it is regardless of who it is, whether it’s against my mother or against my father. What’s happened is my mother has had these attorneys hired like Peter Allman, who’s the president of the bar out there, and I saw this complaint on him to the Board of Professional Responsibility, and he was under investigation, and from my understandin’, that’s still a process goin’. But the issue with that is my daddy has already paid things like child support; he’s already paid it up. And he’s had receipts that show he’s paid it; well, they’ve come back and got ‘im again.
MRS. RONDEAU: How do they do that?
MR. MORGAN: Well, they simply refuse to look at the evidence in the record. They say, “I’m not lookin’ at that; you ain’t paid it; you owe me,” insinuating you’re goin’ to jail anyway. My daddy’s been to jail three times now on account of they’ve extorted money out of ‘im, and what it is is it’s extortion. And it’s done by the sheriff and by the judges and by the attorneys.
MRS. RONDEAU: The person can’t just show them a canceled check proving that the payment was made?
MR. MORGAN: No, that does not work, because we’ve done that three times now, and they’ve extorted the sum of over $50,000 out of my father illegally.
MRS. RONDEAU: Fifty thousand dollars?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, and this has just been over the last couple of years, and a total over the past 12 years is about $120,000 of money that he didn’t owe.
MRS. RONDEAU: How do they you to pay a bill that you don’t think you owe? Do they take it right out of your bank account?
MR. MORGAN: Well, they send the sheriff out to put you in jail, and then they terrorize you and punish you in jail. My daddy spent time in jail because of it.
MRS. RONDEAU: Really?
MR. MORGAN: Yes.
MRS. RONDEAU: And this was for a debt that he believed he did not owe?
MR. MORGAN: Not only did he not believe it, but we’ve got evidence of it. And it is filed with the court, too, and the court is aware of it, and nothing has been done.
MRS. RONDEAU: So what’s wrong with the court?
MR. MORGAN: Well, that’s a question that I’d like to know. He even tried to present it to the grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway, and because we’re all members of the CCC, they have a problem with Christians, apparently, and the issue is that he tried to present it to the grand jury while he was incarcerated and they refused to listen.
MRS. RONDEAU: Would you say that there is something wrong with the grand jury in Monroe County?
MR. MORGAN: Oh, there is most definitely something wrong with the grand jury in Monroe County. The grand jury and the Tennessee judiciary here in Monroe County believe that child abuse is legal, extortion is legal, as long as they’re doing it and they’re in control, and trust me, they are in control right now. They most definitely are. There’s been 133 pages of evidence as to the character of my mother and the money that has been taken, and it’s filed with the court.
MRS. RONDEAU: What does the court do with evidence like that that would help a defendant defend him or herself?
MR. MORGAN: Nothin’. They do nothin’ with it. They act like it don’t exist, and to them, it don’t.
MRS. RONDEAU: Your story is consistent with a lot of others in that people who claim they’re innocent of anything are being thrown in jail. Have you seen the inside of the jail?
MR. MORGAN: Yes, I have. I”ve been falsely accused of some things that I didn’t do, and I actually beat the charges, and I only had to serve 12 hours. It’s very cold, very damp; it’s moldy; it is very inhumane and very inhospitable conditions in that place. And I was only there for 12 hours, so I can’t give you a real account as to what goes on there.
My father was denied medical care. He was having problems with kidney stones and some attacks like that and a lot of pain for three days. He couldn’t get absolutely any help at all. They completely ignored him, and he was denied medical care. That’s a continuing factor for the Monroe County jail.
MRS. RONDEAU: Is there a reason how and why the sheriff became so powerful?
MR. MORGAN: Well, I”m not sure how he done it; I’m sure it’s not legal, whatever is found. I’ve got some people who are well aware of the situation and what’s going on who are doing some speculation about the involvement of Monroe County with the Jim Miller murder that hasn’t been solved. The local newspapers around here, and there’s three of ’em, all work together. They claim that they’d like to report the story, but the issue is that I refuse to talk to ’em, because they won’t print the truth. And the issue is that the people of Monroe County are going to have to start paying attention to what’s going on. I think it’s comin’. It’s slow, but it’s comin’.
MRS. RONDEAU: Someone told me that in the mid-80s, it was found that the county sheriff’s department was completely corrupt and it was changed out, and some went to jail. Do you recall that?
MR. MORGAN: I remember something about it, but I was a young lad, eight, nine, ten years old…
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think it’s possible that people could be made aware enough so that this could be corrected?
MR. MORGAN: Yeah, that’s what it’s gonna take. There’s certainly enough evidence for that to happen. The issue is gettin’ the proper authorities to actually do it. Like right now, they’re tryin’ to label us; this fictitious federal agent that was at my father’s house was asking very strange questions. Their house of cards is startin’ to fall a little bit right now; the cages have been rattled. We’re all making an effect; how much of an effect, we don’t know. But there’s definitely enough evidence for that to take place. I’m confident that there’s enough evidence in place right now and enough people that are willin’ to stand up that if they did come in here to clean house and to make some arrests, it is very possible for that to happen.
MRS. RONDEAU: Can you tell me a little more about that agent, his questions, and whose names he might have mentioned?
MR. MORGAN: Well, he mentioned some attorneys in the county here, which was very strange to me. His questionin’ was that, “Hey, Walter could not do what he was tryin’ to do.” Of course, I didn’t enlighten him and let him know that North Carolina has already done that, so for them sayin’ that Walter is unable to do that, it’s a flat-out lie.
MRS. RONDEAU: What did they mean when they said no one could do what Walter was trying to do?
MR. MORGAN: Indict the president to the local grand jury. He was tellin’ me that that wasn’t possible; that was somethin’ that had to be done through Congress and it’s just not gonna happen around here and everything. I don’t know if he was really either very misinformed and believed it wholeheartedly or if he’s just that ignorant.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did he show you an actual business card?
MR. MORGAN: Yeah, he gave me a business card. I actually called the FBI and they claimed that he did work there, but I don’t know how.
MRS. RONDEAU: Even if he did work for the FBI, you said his line of questioning was a little unusual. What kind of questions did he ask you?
MR. MORGAN: Well, he was basically tryin’ to insinuate that we were terrorists and he was worried about whether we were going to storm the courthouse with guns and things. He mentioned Darren Huff’s name and made a comment or somehow that if enough had showed up there on April 1 that they were goin’ to take over the courthouse and he was bringin’ his guns with ‘im. Well, I’ve never heard Darren Huff say anything like that, and I didn’t take that kind of character from him. I’ve met him once, some time after that incident. As a matter of fact, I was even threatened to come and attend Walter‘s court cases when he had court. They said if I showed up at the courthouse, the sheriff was going to have me arrested for tryin’ to incite a riot.
MRS. RONDEAU: Who threatened you with that?
MR. MORGAN: There’s a friend that’s a deputy who knows my uncle quite well, and he sent word through my uncle that said if I showed up that day, they were goin’ to arrest us for tryin’ to incite a riot. And of course, they don’t have to have no reason to arrest you in Monroe County; they just come and get you and throw you in the jail. They’re holdin’ gentlemen out there right now that have not been charged with anything.
MRS. RONDEAU: And Mr. Fitzpatrick has been charged but has asked who his accuser is, and there’s reportedly never been an answer.
MR. MORGAN: No, they don’t have to have one around here. There’s a whole separate set of rules in Monroe County. This is a whole different country. They make their own up as they go, whatever they feel like.
With respect to the Jim Miller murder and the effect it had, I understand that there was a lot of voters that didn’t come out because they were fearful about what the Sheriff’s Department would do to them if they voted Bill out of office. I’ve heard that from a lot of the residents that live in Sweetwater, so that’s not just hearsay. They said, “If Bill found out that I voted for the man runnin’ against ‘im, he’d have me killed.”
MRS. RONDEAU: I remember hearing that Bill Bivens won the election, and I wondered why, with all of the alleged corruption. You’re saying that people are actually afraid to vote for anyone else?
MR. MORGAN: Well, that, too, and also, you know who picks up the ballots: the Sheriff’s Department.
MRS. RONDEAU: They do?
MR. MORGAN: Yep, they go around pickin’ up the machines and deliver ’em back. Also, he is the only one who wasn’t changed who ran in the election that had an opponent runnin’ against ‘im. He’s the only one who kept his job; he’s the only Democrat that kept his job. So that raises a lot of questions, too. Everybody else was unseated. Everybody who was a Democrat and was in office and had a Republican runnin’ against ’em, the Republican won, except for the sheriff.
MRS. RONDEAU: So it appears that the people want a change.
MR. MORGAN: Yes, that’s exactly what happened here. Everybody changed except for Bill Bivens.
MRS. RONDEAU: That’s very interesting.
MR. MORGAN: It’s very interesting to everybody around here, too. There’s lots of questions. There’s just nobody bein’ very vocal about it for fear that they may be killed.
MRS. RONDEAU: What is it like living every day in fear for your life?
MR. MORGAN: Well, it’s a different experience. You kinda take one day at a time, and you figure out, “Well, what’s gonna happen today?” I have to go on with my life and I’ve got to try to raise my children, so you kind-of head out of a daytime wonderin’ if this is gonna be a day that you end up in jail for bein’ at the wrong place at the wrong time. Not necessarily that you’ve done anything wrong; it’s just when somebody decides they want to put you in jail, they just do.
MRS. RONDEAU: It reminds me of the Soviet Union and other communist regimes where they can just grab you off the street and throw you in jail for no reason and extort money out of you if they can.
MR. MORGAN: Oh, yeah, they do and they will. That’s how they do it.
MRS. RONDEAU: Have you ever thought about moving away?
MR. MORGAN: Yeah, I have, and I would love to, but here’s the issue: I can’t leave my children here. So I have to be here in the mess and I have to face it head-on and I’m fightin’ it the only way that I know how for the safety of my children. And I’ll continue to do it until it does cost me my life or until I get my children out of harm’s way. And those are the only two ways that’ll move me.
MRS. RONDEAU: That’s what the Founding Fathers of our country said: “We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” And a lot of them lost their lives, not that you will or should have to. It’s one thing when we’re talking about ourselves, but when you’re talking about your kids…
MR. MORGAN: Yeah.
MRS. RONDEAU: How do you believe you can win this battle to get your kids out of harm’s way?
MR. MORGAN: I honestly don’t know what it’s gonna take, and I don’t know how long the time frame is. I look at it like this: if I would have done the things in another county somewhere else in the United States that my children’s mother has done, I would have had to have supervised visitation. There is obviously some sort of bias here against me; what it is, I don’t know or how long it’s gonna take me to clean it up, I don’t know. The issue is that I’m not going to quit, and I don’t know how long it’s gonna take me to get there. But until they kill me or until I win, I’m not goin’ anywhere. And I made that decision about five years ago when I joined the CCC because I knew that that what’s it was goin’ to come to. I said, “When we start standin’ up, they’re gonna start comin’ after us with everything they got; they’re gonna try to kill us.” And I made that decision a long time ago, and I’m more firm in that decision now than I was then.
Editor’s Note: The Post & Email contacted Congressman John Duncan‘s office today about the massive corruption in Monroe County, including the rigged grand jury, the courts, the conditions of the jails, police brutality, and extortion of innocent people. We advised that the stories are making national news and requested a written response from Rep. Duncan when he completes a review of the situation. Our complete contact information was provided.
Mr. Morgan has reported that the business card given to him by the alleged representative of the “Joint Terrorism Task Forces of Tennessee” bore the telephone number 865-470-0007. The Post & Email called the number and it was answered by someone who said, “Knoxville FBI.” When asked if that was the correct number to for the Joint Terrorism Task Forces of Tennessee, the woman answered, “Yes, we’re affiliated.” She said she could not confirm whether or not a “Mike Harrell” or “Mike Hull” worked there.