Detective investigating Ooltewah rape to be charged with aggravated perjury

Detective investigating Ooltewah rape to be charged with aggravated perjury

May 20th, 2016 by Kendi A. Rainwater in Local Regional News

Detective Rodney Burns of the Gatlinburg Police Department is sworn in as a witness before Judge Robert Philyaw during a preliminary hearing for the Ooltewah High School basketball coaches and the school's athletic director in Hamilton County Juvenile Court on Monday.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

This story was updated at 1:07 p.m. with new details.

Floyd Rodney Burns is pictured in a mugshot.

Floyd Rodney Burns is pictured in a mugshot....

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 2/15/16. Detective Rodney Burns of the Gatlinburg Police Department is questioned as a witness before Judge Robert Philyaw during a preliminary hearing for the Ooltewah High School basketball coaches and the school's athletic director in Hamilton County Juvenile Court on February 15, 2016. Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston charged head coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley with failing to report child abuse or suspected child sexual abuse in connection with the rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman by his basketball teammates Dec. 22, 2015.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Detective Rodney Burns with the Gatlinburg Police Department was booked into the Hamilton County Jail this morning and charged with two counts of aggravated perjury related to his testimony regarding the rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman.

At the request of Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation looked into whether Burns, 55, committed perjury during his February testimony in Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

"During the course of the investigation, agents developed information, that on February 15th, [Burns] offered testimony in a juveniles hearing that was untruthful," said Josh Devine, spokesman for the TBI.

On Monday, TBI agents presented case information to the Hamilton County Grand Jury, who returned indictments, according to a statement from Devine.   

Burns was released today after posting a $2,500 bond.

Aggravated perjury is a class D felony and if found guilty Burns could spend between two and four years behind bars.

During Burns' testimony in February, he referred to the rape of the 15-year-old as "something stupid kids do."  He said the perpetrators received no sexual gratification from the act, so he did not consider it a sexual assault.

According to the indictment, Burns "unlawfully and with intent to deceive" made two false statements under oath during this testimony.

Burns testified in this hearing that "there was no rape or torture, no screams of anguish." But previously he wrote in police reports that someone told him "the victim yelled out in pain" and another person said "he could hear [the victim] yelling when they had attacked," according to the indictment.

The indictment also says Burns didn't testify truthfully when he said he called authorities to report the incident on Christmas Eve.  Later in the same testimony he contradicted himself, saying calling that particular authority was not "within the parameters of what we report."

Burns' attorney, Bryan Delius, said he has filed a petition to recuse Pinkston from prosecuting the case based on the prosecutor's "clear interest in the outcome." Delius also petitioned the court to allow testimony from an unnamed assistant district attorney from Sevier County who will purportedly offer testimony clearing the detective of any wrongdoing. 

"Apparently none of this was considered and General Pinkston continues his attack against detective Burns, a most highly regarded detective with the Gatlinburg Police Department," Delius wrote in the release. 

The Gatlinburg Police Department did not respond to a request for comment. 

Previously, Delius released a statement on behalf of Burns, calling the allegations against him "base" and "reckless."

Delius said in his previous statement that Burns, a 25-year veteran with the Gatlinburg department "wholly denies" any wrongdoing.

Following Pinkston's request that the TBI investigate Burns for perjury, Burns filed a $300,000 defamation lawsuit against Pinkston.

In the lawsuit, Burns said he has suffered damage to his reputation, his actives cases have been postponed and he has been ridiculed by the public and media outlets.

Pinkston's office said it could not comment on the charges against Burns or the pending lawsuit.

This story is developing.

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