On May 11, 2020, Deputy Matthew O’Banion of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department met with a woman by the name of Nicole Parsons, who went to the Deputy to claim her child’s father, Benjamin Brannon IV, had been abusing him.
As she explained, she also showed Deputy O’Banion a video of the abuse, which was sent to her by Benjamin Brannon’s current wife, Ashley Brannon. When the deputy asked Ms. Parsons why Mrs. Brannon would send her such a video, Ms. Parsons responded by saying that Mrs. Brannon is scared of her husband, because she has seen him not only abuse Ms. Parson’s son but also Mrs. Brannon’s two-year-old. There is also a four-month-old baby in the house. Mrs. Brannon claims that her husband abuses her and has threatened to kill her, as well, and he has the means to do it, because Brannon owns multiple firearms.
Ms. Parsons explained that she and Brannon have 50/50 custody of the five-year-old boy, but she has not seen her son in months, because Brannon will not allow it.
The video, which was originally recorded on March 28, 2020 at the Brannon residence, has since made its rounds on Facebook, provoking outrage. Deputy O’Banion explains the video in the probable cause affidavit by saying that it shows Brannon striking the child repeatedly with an open hand. Brannon can be seeing kneeling next to the child. At one point, the child screams that he can’t breathe, but Brannon responds that he “doesn’t give a f**k.” The father is also heard saying “I don’t care if you pass out. You won’t die if you pass the f**k out.”
The video is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion advised.
O’Banion contacted Child Protective Services to inform them of the situation. CPS said the children would likely be taken from the home, but when the Deputy said that both mothers were cooperative, it appears that CPS was fine with releasing the children into their respective mothers’ care.
Both Deputy O’Banion and another Deputy went to Benjamin Brannon’s residence. However, when they knocked on the door, Brannon told them he could not go with them, because he was COVID-19 positive. Brannon went back inside the house, but the deputies followed him, for safety reasons, and found that Brannon was attempting to call his wife.
Once the deputies told him why they were there to arrest him, Brannon asked to see the video being referenced by the officers, so they showed it to him. Brannon then tried to claim that the son throws “temper tantrums” and that his actions in that video is the only thing that will make the boy stop. The deputies told Brannon to discuss the case with a lawyer and took him into custody.
Marion General Hospital confirmed that Brannon had tested positive for COVID-19, so Brannon was placed in the care of the hospital, despite the fact that he was asymptomatic.
Nevertheless, Brannon was charged on June 8, 2020 with one count of Domestic Battery on a Person Less than 14 (a Level 6 Felony) and one count of Neglect of a Dependent (also a Level 6 Felony).
Brannon’s bond was set at $10,000 cash (10%), which he posted, and the court also made sure a no-contact order was put in place, so Brannon is not allowed to have contact with his son.
Our own Richarh Tyson was able to speak with the boy’s mother, Nicole Parsons, on the phone and recorded their coversation.
Ms. Parsons explained to Richarh that she used to message Brannon’s new wife, Ashley, as well as the boy’s grandmother, who would often tell Ms. Parsons that her son had obtained injuries while visiting his dad because “he was just being a boy” and would fall while “climbing, jumping on and off things,” normal behavior for a young boy. Ms. Parsons said that when she questioned things, “it was always an excuse.”
In explaining how she got possession of the video which shows her child being abused, Ms. Parsons told Richarh that Brannon’s wife, Ashley Brannon, sent her the video to prevent Ms. Parsons from getting into any kind of trouble for her child’s injuries. She also said that Ashley Brannon “was trying to leave [Benjamin Brannon]” by sending Ms. Parsons the video of the abuse. Ms. Parsons claims that Brannon abused her while they were together (for seven years) and that Brannon now abuses his current wife, as well, which might be why Mrs. Brannon hoped the video of her husband abusing his son might be a way for her to get out of the relationship.
She explained that even when Brannon had gotten in trouble in the past, his mother (the boy’s grandmother), who works for CASA, always found a way to get her son out of whatever bad situation he was in. Ms. Parsons says she’s upset that the grandmother would always protect her son but not her grandson.
Ms. Parsons talked about what happened when they went to court following Benjamin Brannon’s arrest: the judge granted Ms. Parsons emergency full custody because of the no-contact order that was put in place. She says they will return to court on July 27th to work out child support concerns, as well as determine what “grounds” Ms. Parsons has to stand on if/when Benjamin Brannon might get to see his son again.
The confusion between what has been posted on Facebook (claims that Brannon can still see his son) and what actually happened was also explained to Richarh, but Ms. Parsons did assure him that Brannon has been charged with the previously mentioned crimes and does have to abide by a no-contact order while he is out on bond.
Despite the harm he has caused, Ms. Parsons made it clear that she does not want any harm to come to Brannon, she does not want anyone going after him, because she believes the courts will handle the situation and make sure justice is done.
Thankfully, Ms. Parsons’ son is also in therapy and getting the help he needs to process and heal from the abuse he’s experienced.
Here is the entire conversation between Richarh Tyson and Nicole Parsons:
Those of us at Channel 27 News would like to thank Ms. Parsons for her bravery and willingness to speak with us, especially given the amount of concern that has spread across Facebook regarding her son. We hope this article will help bring concerned citizens some relief in knowing that the boy is safe and being cared for by family and a therapist.