Gatlinburg police detective Rodney Burns is currently under investigation for possibly perjuring himself during testimony in a rape case involving an Ooltewah High School student. To find out if Burns had other such incidents on his record, the media news station WBIR TV-10 reviewed Burns’ personnel file. To date, Burns’ history with the Gatlinburg Police Department reveals no prior occurrences of abject misconduct.
Burns began his service with the Gatlinburg Police Department as a jailer-dispatcher back in 1991. Since then, Burns’ has received several promotional recommendations that eventually led him to his current post as police detective.
Last December, Burns took the reigns as lead investigator in an alleged assault case wherein an Ooltewah High School freshman boy sustained serious bodily injuries resulting from an alleged rape and assault with a pool cue at the hands of older senior classmates. Both the victim and the accused perpetrators were in Gatlinburg to attend a basketball tournament as a team.
The three boys said to be involved in the rape now face criminal prosecution in Sevier County’s Juvenile Court. Their court date is scheduled for March 15, 2016.
During a preliminary hearing in Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court on February 15, 2016, Burns testified that the senior boys had been hazing several young teammates with the pool cue when the cue unexpectedly tore through the victim’s pants thereby penetrating him. Since the penetration appeared to be an accidental outcome, Burns further testified that the act appeared to be more of an assault than a rape.
Burns’ testimony that the case was not sexual in nature triggered Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston to request a perjury investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. In assessing Burns’ past annual evaluations, WBIR TV-10 learned his supervisors consistently praised his steadfast work ethic, interest in ongoing developmental learning, and persistent efforts to exceed expectations.