Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zachary Mullins Charged Because of Flag Team Row?

Our October 29th blog on the indictment of Morgan County teacher Jessica Heather DeFoor and Air Force Lt. Zachary W. Mullins told it like it is: If an 18/19 year-old male has sex with a 15 year-old girl, he's guilty of second degree rape in the State of Alabama. If a jury of his peers finds Mullins to be guilty, he will remain branded a sexual predator the rest of his life and have to register as such no matter where in the United States he may move. As to what will become of his new Air Force career, we don't know. Since the incident happened before Mullins was commissioned upon his graduation from Auburn University, perhaps the Air Force will consider all the circumstances and allow Mullins to retain his rank and status in that branch of the service...or perhaps he will be handed his walking papers along with a dishonorable discharge.

The three crimes of which Mullins and DeFoor are charged occurred in 2006, but were not reported until 2007. There is no statute of limitations on such crimes, but many have questioned the year's delay in reporting these acts. We ourselves have specifically questioned why the 15 year-old victim was allowed unsupervised visits at the home of DeFoor, a second grade teacher from the Danville-Neel Elementary School.

Upon further research, it seems Miss DeFoor herself was the adult chaperon appointed by Danville High School. DeFoor supervised what is commonly called a flag team, and it was not unusual for her to invite team members to her home for parties after practice. Whether parents of the girls knew that DeFoor also invited certain male students and graduates is unknown.

Today's flag teams bear little resemblance to the marching groups of years past. Large high schools field color guard, autumn guard, and winter guard teams--all of which compete in regional and national competitions. We feel if we delve deeply enough into the current world of high school sports/activities, we would find that even tiddly winks has become a highly competitive and money-making endeavor. Apparently, even in the small town atmosphere of Danville in Morgan County, the flag team was "kind of a big deal" to those who oversaw it, and those who couldn't cut it were culled from the herd of marching, head-bobbing flag-twirlers. Several sources have reported to us that this was the case of the victim in the DeFoor-Mullins rape case.

If true, it's sad that the victim, who may have been so drugged that charges against Mullins will be elevated to first degree rape, saw no need to report the crimes committed against her until DeFoor booted her from the Danville Flag Team. Very sad indeed, but it makes 2nd Lt. Zachary W. Mullins no less guilty. Mullins, a commissioned officer for only a few weeks, arrived back in Alabama on Monday. He was released from the Morgan County Detention Center on $30,000.00 bond.

Now, Danville High School authorities must ask the question: Was the 15 year-old victim the only girl who became the object of DeFoor and Mullin's sexual desires? Predators lurk everywhere, even in Danville. We're sure the local high school made what it thought was a good decision when they asked Heather DeFoor to oversee the high school flag team; they were wrong. All parents should watch this case very carefully and learn from it.

Pictured is stock photo of marching color guard

What's up with this: Wilson Park now has a restored fountain, complete with third tier. Thanks to Councilman Dick Jordan and others who worked diligently to push for the restoration of this Florence landmark.