Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates
South Carolina courts, DSS, protect abusive dad

South Carolina courts, DSS, protect abusive dad

Jamie Bastian has reported all physical abuse- she has provided photographic evidence- so why is she still fighting for justice.
One of more than a dozen photos the police took after a physical altercation between Jamie Bastian and her ex-husband Robert Bastian

{The podcast is a short interview I did with Robert Bastian}

Jamie Bastian has been physically abused; her children have been physically abused.

This has been documented. Here is part of a police report.

Jamie and Robert lived in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Jamie took more than a dozen photos after bruising appeared after this incident in which she alleged that Robert pushed her into a toddler gate. One photo is at the top below is another.

Here is part of another incident, when Robert chased after her while she was driving.

There was also a physical altercation involving their son.

Part of the photographic evidence of this incident

After this incident, Robert’s son refused to talk to him, so Jamie told police that he began harassing her in the parenting application.

Robert, when I spoke with him, denied everything; he even denied there was evidence of his abuse. Here’s another photo.

Furthermore, he entered a pre-trial intervention program. Jamie has called this a slap on the wrist, but legally speaking, entering the program is an acknowledgement that he did commit the crimes.

Robert asked me to speak with his attorney, but then he hung up before giving me his attorney’s name. He demanded his name not be used in the article.

“That’s not your choice,” I told him.

Jamie provided this statement by email after listening to the interview.

The outcome of the conversation does not surprise me in the least, Robert has no problem providing false statements when it makes him look better, however, when faced with the actual facts he gets angry. Robert cared so much about the “image” that he created for himself and keeping up with his “story” that during the mediation I was told, “if you drop the adultery and physical cruelty out of the divorce filing, you can have full custody of the boys”. 

What is surprising to me is that he would tell and investigative journalist the following: 

1. That I have been “convicted” twice for domestic violence. Anyone can pull my criminal record and it is 100% clean. I manage multimillion dollar assets and would not be able to do so if I had a criminal record of any kind.

2. That there was not a mark on me. I had to take bruise progression photographs over a period of several days for the states case. There was a total of 17 bruises all over my body from only one incident of him throwing me down a flight of stairs. 

Robert’s behavior has been condoned for so long at this point that I am honestly not sure if he truly knows the difference between reality and falsified life/image that he has created and carried on. This type of disassociation with reality and the truth of the situation is extremely scary as a mother when none of the agencies employed to protect my children have done so.

Jamie faces what many domestic violence victims face when going to prosecutors, the court, and social services.

Robert’s pre-trial intervention involved no jail time. He has maintained his custody time- though he has consistently been the non-custodial parent- but Jamie has been unable to get the courts to order supervised visitation, and she was even sanctioned when she refused to force her children to see Robert after he physically attacked his son.

The prosecutor’s office provided this statement, “Mr. Bastian faces a single criminal charge before our office, and that case is still pending. The ethical rules that govern prosecutors do not allow us to comment on particulars of a case under such circumstances.”

The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office handles Bluffton, and they provided me with the statement.

The judge in her case is Judge Deborah Malphrus, who also presided over Lee Granade’s custody case, which I featured last year.

In Lee’s case, Judge Malphrus had the chutzpah to tell Lee that perjury is only sanctioned when it is specifically prohibited in a court order.

Judge Malphrus doesn’t mind a little perjury in her courtroom

In Jamie’s case, in December 2022, she asked Judge Malphrus to relocate to Georgia.

Judge Malphrus did not just deny her request, but Jamie remembers her saying, “You can move but then I’m giving sole custody {to Robert}.”

After Robert chased after her in the car in May 2022, she tried to get a protective order, and the court came up with a novel way to deny her request. Jamie explained further.

It’s the behavior of the Department of Social Services which is most at issue here.

At different times, DSS has substantiated both Robert and Jamie of some form of abuse, then reversed itself.

Jamie told me that DSS considered her screaming while being physically attacked to be psychological abuse. I found this hard to believe so I asked DSS for clarification.

Here is their statement.

The agency cannot comment on current or former reports of neglect and abuse under the state’s confidentially laws and likewise cannot provide comment on private custody legal matters between parents where the agency is not a legal party. Questions regarding police reports should be directed to the law enforcement issuing entity.

As the reader can plainly see, this case reveals another problem. There is a total lack of transparency when it comes to these investigations and prosecutions. There is always a reason why agencies don’t explain themselves to the public at large.

DSS eventually dropped charges against both, but that was enough for Judge Malphrus to keep the original custody terms in place.

Robert continues to get unsupervised and overnight visits despite a history of physical abuse to Jamie and the children.

Jamie has recent filed to reconsider her move to Georgia.

Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates
I give voice to the voiceless with true original reporting on topics the rest of the media is too afraid or lazy to cover.