The Daily Counter reached out to Brenda Bryant for a follow-up story. Brenda is a 66-year-old woman who has been the target of retaliation. Several members of the South Carolina Judiciary and, alleged, members of the South Carolina General Assembly have systematically demonized and criminalized Brenda Bryant.
Below is a video interview with Brenda Bryant and her husband Rickey Bryant.
The Daily Counter reached out to Milam County, Texas District Attorney Bill Torrey. It turned out that Torrey was well aware of what was happening to Brenda Bryant.
Bill Torrey stated that what happened to Brenda appears to be an injustice. “Listen, I’m not in South Carolina but based on my experience there is just so much about this case that doesn’t make sense. You can’t have a hearing in a case that is under active appeal. Anyone looking at the timeline here would agree there is certainly the possibility of retaliation,” he said.
Torrey was asked about the weird circumstances that Brenda Bryant mentioned during her case.
“When you look at what happened to her daughter and what happened to her that opens up a lot of questions but I don’t want to comment too much about what is going on in another state. I know here that if this case were happening in Texas I’d ask a lot of questions,” he said.
Torrey said he talks to Brenda Bryant often. “My heart hurts for her so much. I saw how hard she was fighting for her daughter and for South Carolina to do that to her is just sad. Last time I checked, and call me crazy, but you can’t have a hearing for a case that’s under active appeal,” he stated.
Why would a District Attorney who prosecutes people say the things that Bill Torrey said?
Here is a brief overview of what happened to Brenda Bryant and her family:
- Brenda’s daughter Stephanie Bryant appeared to have been coerced into signing herself into an adult care facility. This happened while Stephanie was in high school and 18-years-old at the time. The representative from the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) convinced Stephanie, a woman who the South Carolina Supreme Court conceded has the mind of a 7-to-10-year-old, to sign herself into DDSN care without Brenda ever being notified.
- Stephanie was abused while in DDSN care at The Babcock Center in Lexington, South Carolina. One night, Stephanie escaped the Babcock Center and was raped and contracted a sexually transmitted disease (herpes). There were supposed to be 15-minute checks on all individuals in the care of the Babcock Center which should be common sense given that most of the residents were mentally disabled. Stephanie was taken to the Lexington County Medical Center where a rape kit was administered. The rape kit showed signs of sexual assault.
- No charges were brought against the men who Brenda and Stephanie identified as the rapists. According to court documents, the then-Richland County Solicitor Barney Geise decided to not press charges because that Stephanie was a, “fully competent mentally disabled woman.” Brenda didn’t buy this. She pursued civil charges and an appeal.
- In 2006, The South Carolina Supreme Court picked up the case. Brenda won the case. The S.C. Supreme Court case is called Madison Bryant v. Babcock Center. The reason why Stephanie’s name was changed to Madison was to show that the S.C. Supreme Court was conceding that she was a victim of sexual assault. S.C. Supreme Court struck down all previous decisions made by the S.C. lower courts.
- There was a black and white view when it came to watching Stephanie. The Babcock Center was receiving Stephanie Bryant’s monthly social security payments but didn’t want to keep an eye on this severely mentally disabled woman. The Babcock Center and DDSN claimed to have, “no duty of care“ because they believed that either Stephanie could be watched all of the time or none of the time. S.C. Supreme Court didn’t buy that excuse and ruled in favor of Brenda and Stephanie.
- After the case, Brenda was removed as guardian for no good reason by Judge Edward Sauvain. Brenda was removed as the guardian of Stephanie and guardianship was given to a court-appointed guardian named Tracey Parsons. It turns out that after Parsons was assigned as guardian, Stephanie Bryant was still complaining about being abused. Stephanie called Brenda and stated that the guardian was barely visiting her.
- Brenda was ordered by Judge Edward Miller to pay attorney fees to Tracey Parson’s attorney who was Rodney Pillsbury. Brenda and her attorney, Alice Perkins, did not appear in several court hearings where Judge Miller would be presiding. The problem with this is that the case was under active appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals. It is illegal to hold a hearing like this with a case that is under active appeal thus explaining why Brenda Bryant and Alice Perkins elected to not show up to these hearings. One should never be forced to appear in court for a case that is under active appeal.
- Judge Miller issued a bench warrant for Brenda’s immediate arrest. In that warrant, Judge Miller appears to have lied and stated that Brenda Bryant was a violent offender. In the order, Judge Miller stated that Brenda was to serve one year to life. Is this reasonable for a civil violation? Does any part of that order scream “retaliation” to you?
- Keep in mind, Brenda Bryant only missed one court hearing on March 14, 2012. Judge Miller issued the bench warrant 30 days later even after he acknowledged the case was under appeal in his order.
- Brenda was incarcerated at a correctional facility in Buncombe County, North Carolina. She was released. Brenda hasn’t been home in 8 years.
For 8 years Stephanie Bryant has been robbed of her mother’s love and presence. It’s like Stephanie is being raped all over again. Brenda is being raped and starved of the very daughter she fought so hard to protect. Brenda took the State of South Carolina, DDSN, and The Babcock Center to the South Carolina Supreme Court because she felt the need to protect everyone vulnerable.
“I didn’t go to court for just Stephanie. I went to court for everyone who was a victim,” Brenda told The Daily Counter.
Do you understand what would have happened if Brenda lost that case? DDSN would be able to instantly reject any lawsuit brought against the agency or any facility it sponsors. Brenda’s landmark legal victory has been used as a precedent as far as the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Below is a copy of the letter Rickey Bryant sent to the White House on Brenda’s behalf.