Brooks High School in Killen appears spacious from the highway running by its entrance, but it nonetheless houses a group of close-knit students. In 2007, one of them was Andrew Daniel Scott, a young man who should have been full of promise, but who somehow never lived up to his potential.
The son of divorced parents, Andrew lived with his mother and her second husband. By most accounts it was an often rocky relationship, and young Andrew appealed to his father when in need...and Andrew was often in need. Called Hottie Scottie by his friends, but sometimes known by the not so glamorous title of “Little F*cker,” Andrew seemingly did his best to live up to the latter appellation.
In a school where secrets were as rare as black pearls, Andrew knew that two of his friends were dating the same promiscuous sophomore girl...and he wanted some of that. For whatever reason, the high school senior at not quite 18 made his play and consummated his relationship with the underage female sans a condom or other protection. Was he trying to throw his life away? Since his family often bragged of Andrew’s high IQ, it’s certainly possible.
It didn’t take long for the news of the young woman’s pregnancy to spread throughout Brooks and the surrounding community. No one can say how Andrew felt when he heard the news, but he did immediately consult his father Roger Scott, a University of North Alabama IT specialist. Roger’s reported advice? Wait.
No testing was done on the child until it was born. By that time, the young girl’s half-brother and his wife had made plans to adopt the boy. They had in fact paid the young woman’s medical bills, taken the child home from the hospital, and placed it in a carefully prepared nursery. Rylan Kade, as the child was called, was home. Or was he?
One of Andrew’s two friends felt it very possible he was the boy’s father and wanted to know with certainty. A quick paternity test proved him not related to the child. Not to be outdone, Andrew’s second friend took a similar test. He too was proved not to be the father.
As Roger and Andrew debated what to do next, two more possible candidates appeared. Surely one of them was the biological father of Rylan Kade. When lab results ruled out the second two students, Roger advised Andrew it was time for him to be tested. Bingo...Andrew Scott was the unlucky winner.
Just as with his son Andrew, no one can positively know what Roger Scott was thinking when he found he had a biological grandchild. Both Roger’s sons had spent more time with their stepfather than they had with him, and by this time Andrew was a student at UNA. He was already said to be in trouble with drugs and alcohol. Did Roger want a do-over?
Initially Rylan Kade’s parents allowed Andrew to visit their infant son. Then Andrew dropped the bombshell that he wanted the adoption stopped. He was 19, a full-time college student, and working in a burger joint...and now he, or his father, had the temerity to want to take this baby away from its parents.
Roger Scott began his campaign to snatch Rylan from the young couple who had loved and cared for him since birth. Scott created a Facebook page and began a media campaign against the Alabama Putative Father Registry. Scott saw the registry’s 30-day time limit to seek custody of an illegitimate child as the only impediment to Andrew’s custody of the little boy. He was also painfully aware that it was at his urging Andrew had waited over 30 days to come forward.
Rylan’s parents immediately stopped allowing Andrew and his family to visit. They now faced an unforeseen hurdle to legal parenthood. Soon not only they, but their attorney James Hall II saw the wrath and cyber-fury of Roger Scott.
It was at this juncture that Roger Scott contacted Shoals political blogger Shoalanda Speaks. Shoalanda was well-known in the community as someone who concerned herself with sometimes unpopular causes and misguided laws. She was also well-known as someone who preached the need for morality as presented in the New Testament. Why did Roger Scott think she of all people would assist him in the morally repugnant crime of kidnapping a child, legally or otherwise?
It’s been said that it’s human nature to look at our children with rose-colored glasses. This seems the only excuse for Roger Scott’s juggernaut campaign to take Rylan from his parents and place him with his son, a son whose physical and mental health was deteriorating rapidly. Roger announced to the world that Andrew had worked for every dollar used to pay his attorneys and to make a place ready for the child the young man was purported to want.
While this was the story presented to a public consisting mainly of college students who naively supported Andrew in his dubious quest, Roger Scott’s wife privately told a different story. Dana Scott was a local social worker who publicly remained quiet, but often lamented to her co-workers that her husband had spent thousands of their hard-earned dollars paying Andrew’s legal fees and keeping him out of jail.
The Scotts’ attorney soon filed an injunction halting the adoption...at least temporarily. Roger Scott took the family’s dirty laundry to a local Internet forum where it became a hotly debated topic eventually known as “Dead Horse.” There were even posts on a national judicial forum where judges were rated by those who had appeared in their courts. The juggernaut hurled forward.
Then came Valentine’s Day 2010. The local newspaper reported that Andrew Daniel Scott had been arrested in downtown Florence while attempting to complete a felony drug transaction. Sources say Andrew’s attorney managed to acquire Juvenile Offender status for his client, but it was the end to any real threats of Andrew legally snatching away the child his father ostensibly wanted him to raise.
Rylan’s parents saw his adoption finalized and basically retreated from the limelight to raise their son in a nurturing environment. Unfortunately, it was not the end of Hottie Scottie’s life in the public eye.
Andrew Daniel Scott’s moral and legal lapses had been fodder for local gossip mills for some time. Had he actually broken into the home of a Brooks High coach and been discovered while tossing valuables into his vehicle? Had he actually lost his job at Fat Boys’ when he was found passed out with drug paraphernalia in the men’s room? Had he actually been caught at UNA breaking into the cars of other students? Had he actually questioned a Killen nurse on how to terminate the life of a fetus?
We can say that those affiliated with the nursing program at the University of North Alabama stated publicly that Andrew had never been enrolled as he and his father Roger often claimed. Officials were quick to state they didn’t “want someone like that” becoming a nurse in the state of Alabama.
Yet it wasn’t too late for Andrew at this point. He had no felony convictions; a few years of living on the narrow moral road would have again seen him eligible to enter select and sought after academic programs. How did Andrew use his second chance after his initial drug arrest?
There were separate Lauderdale County arrests for theft and burglary in May 2012, August 2012, and December 2012...and each time Roger Scott bailed his son out whenever he was legally allowed to do so. After a stint in rehab, Scott was again arrested for similar property crimes in November 2013. At the time of this article, Andrew Daniel Scott is again out on bail and awaiting trial for his most recent legal lapses.
Yes, Scott is now 25 with two years of college under his belt and has never had what could be considered a “real job.” One has to ask if his family thinks a lifetime of enabling has helped Andrew become a responsible citizen? No matter, perhaps the salient question at this point is whether Andrew’s family will finally see how Lauderdale County family court made the right decision in declaring this young man unfit to be a parent?
Unfortunately, no one believes that this is “the end.”