Dark Secrets Of The Celebrity Filled Town Of Franklin, Tennessee

In the heart of Williamson County, Tennessee lies the historic town of Franklin. About 30 miles outside of the country music capital of Nashville, its charming and upscale downtown area boasts new architecture and a lively community of people (its population is around 86,895). Franklin has a rich history that dates back to the early days of American settlement (see: the historic Battle of Franklin during the Civil War). The town has drawn not only tourists but also a notable group of celebrities who have chosen to call this quaint little town home. The town's proximity to Nashville, a hub for entertainment and anything having to do with country music, has made it a desirable destination, as it has the perfect "small-town" feel yet is right outside of a big city.

Some famous Franklin residents (past and present) include Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Chris Stapleton and Kristin Cavallari. Carrie Underwood often refers to her garden and home in Franklin as her "happy place" on social media. However, no small town is immune to scandal, and Franklin seems to have an underlying darkness beneath its shiny exterior.

Hiding behind the serene image of this upscale town is a plague of dark secrets that are slowly coming to light. From shocking controversies involving churches and public figures to the tragic and controversial death of a teen, it makes you wonder if these celebrities know what's happening in their backyard. 

A popular soccer coach was busted for being a pedophile

There are certain types of crimes that are so heinous it's tough to write or report on them, and this case definitely fits that bill. 63-year-old Camilo Hurtado Campos was described as a popular soccer coach living in Franklin, Tennessee for the past 20 years. Campos was known to frequent local playgrounds to recruit kids to play on his soccer team. In actuality, he was allegedly earning their trust in order to coax them to his home to drug and assault them.

In July of 2023, Campos left his personal cell phone behind at a local pizza restaurant in Franklin. When employees went through the phone to attempt to find out who it belonged to, they made an unspeakable discovery. On Campos' phone were dozens of videos of him recording himself drugging and sexually assaulting at least 10 boys ages 9-17. The employees turned the phone over to the Franklin Police immediately, and Campos was arrested for rape of a child and sexual exploitation of a minor. 

So far, police have been able to identify two of the victims on the phone. However, because they were drugged, it's possible some of the victims are unaware of what may have happened to them when they were unconscious. If anyone has any additional information, they should contact the Franklin Police at 615-791-3217.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The mysterious death of Grant Solomon

On July 20, 2020,18-year-old Franklin Tennessee teen and star baseball player Grant Solomon was tragically killed in the parking lot of a baseball training facility. The only witness of the alleged single-car accident was his father, local celebrity and WSMV Nashville News Anchor Aaron Solomon. Solomon alleged that his son was getting his baseball gear out of his truck as it was parked on a steep incline; the car must have "malfunctioned or was not placed in park," as it rolled backward over onto Grant, dragging him over 60 feet into a ditch. 

Grant tragically died after being transported to the hospital shortly thereafter. What was suspicious and shocking was that Grant's body did not match what was expected of someone who was dragged under a hot car for 60 feet — in fact, his body showed minimal injury, minus a scrape on his cheek and a blow to the back of his head, which was tied to the official cause of death, blunt force trauma. The Gallatin Police showed up at the scene of the accident for 57 minutes total, took Aaron Solomon's statement, and closed the case. Many were baffled by their lack of investigation.

The mystery surrounding Grant's death has captivated the internet across true crime blogs, TikTok, and podcasts. The team behind the "Murdaugh Murders Podcast," Mandy Matney and Liz Farrell, have even taken up the case. In addition, Kendall Rae made a video covering Grant's death, and there is an entire podcast dedicated to Grant called "Corruption: What Happened to Grant Solomon."

Grant Solomon's younger sister dropped bombshell allegations

In 2021, the late Grant Solomon's younger sister, Gracie Solomon (who was 14 at the time), made a YouTube video alleging that law enforcement and others would not listen to her pleas, saying that she therefore was forced to go public to protect herself. Gracie bravely came forward and delivered some shocking allegations — she alleged that her father had something to do with her brother's death and that he has been sexually assaulting her since she was a child. 

Gracie also claimed that Grant had plans to "out" his father for the abuse, which she speculated was her father's alleged motive in wishing harm on her brother. "Grant was my protector. And my mom's. I didn't realize how much he protected us. However, now that he's gone, my dad is attacking me again, " Gracie stated in the video. She also claimed that her school and church knew about the sexual abuse she was suffering at the hands of her father and did nothing.

Her father, Aaron Solomon, filed a defamation lawsuit against his daughter Gracie and ex-wife Angelia Huffines Solomon, plus a group of others who were speaking out against him in Williamson County. The former news anchor maintains that he had nothing to do with his son's death and that the allegations brought against him by his daughter are false. According to the Nashville Scene, the defamation suits were dropped by Solomon, but he plans to file again in federal court.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

A local CEO was fired for teasing a teen boy in a prom dress

You'd think that an adult wouldn't dream of being cruel enough to publicly shame a teenager, but that didn't stop former Visuwell Health CEO and Franklin resident Sam Johnson. The incident in question took place in April 2021 in downtown Franklin at the Harpeth Hotel before the local high school's prom. Students and parents were in the courtyard of the hotel taking pictures and mingling, among them 18-year-old Dalton Stevens, who decided to wear a long red gown to his senior prom to prove that clothing is genderless. Stevens' boyfriend Jacob Geittman was by his side. 

The now infamous (deleted) TikTok video shows Johnson approaching the pair and telling Stevens that he looked like an "idiot," and appeared to show Johnson following the teen around the hotel, baiting him. At one point, Johnson attempts to slap Geittman's phone out of the teen's hand, as he was filming the entire exchange. Guests can be overheard asking Johnson to "back off, dude" as they are just a "bunch of kids." 

The video quickly went viral and even garnered attention from celebrities like Billy Porter and Kathy Griffin. Griffin demanded that Visuwell Health fire Johnson, and the company did shortly after. The company took to Twitter in a since-deleted post claiming that they have "a zero tolerance policy for intolerance of any kind." When Johnson was interviewed by People and asked if he would have done anything differently in the situation, he simply stated, "No."

The city of Franklin, Tennessee made headlines because of their pride celebration backlash

In Franklin, Tennessee, the annual Pride celebration, which is thrown to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, was met with some major backlash in June 2023. With Governor Bill Lee making Tennessee the first state in the country to ban drag shows, the LGBTQ+ community was left feeling defeated and swept aside. 

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore actually had to hold a vote on whether or not the parade should be held in their small town that year, as it was being hotly contested by anti-gay activists. Moore stated that the 2022 Pride "drag show" was met with many complaints, which is why he decided to open up the floor to the community. Another Franklin celeb, former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson, shocked the nation after she made headlines publicly stating at Moore's city council meeting that "God hates pride." Jackson and many others who promote homophobic and transphobic rhetoric urged Moore to cancel the parade.

Mayor Moore himself eventually voted yes on holding the parade in 2023, breaking a tie, and he cited equality for all as his reason for voting in favor of holding a Pride parade. Moore told the The New York Times of his decision, "On the edges, the far left and the far right are making a lot more noise than the people that are either right or left of center. And I think it's an opportunity for those in the right and left of center to organize and say, 'Hey, this is our community, too.'" Sigh. Why can't we all just get along?

Former Megachurch pastor attended the January 6 riots, and some publicly demanded he be fired

Steve Berger, founder and former lead pastor of the celebrity-filled mega-church Grace Chapel (coincidentally enough, this is the church Grant and Gracie Solomon once attended), upset many people from his congregation when it was revealed he was present at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Not only was he present at the Capitol riots, but Pastor Berger went on Facebook Live (in a since-deleted video) and appeared to largely blame Antifa as the ones who were out of line that day. 

Per the Williamson Herald, Berger had stated, "I'm not here to say that the troublemakers were all and only Antifa members, but I can tell you this: they were there, they were present and they were identified." Berger was also called out for falsely stating that Ashli Babbit, who was part of the crowd swarming the capitol and who was tragically killed that day after being shot by Capitol Police, was only 16 when she died (she was 35). 

He later posted a Facebook statement recanting what he initially said, claiming it was based on false information. He also denounced the behavior of many that day in order to do damage control. Certain members of his congregation were turned off by the discussion of politics and the fact that Berger attended the riots; they called for his firing through Change.org. Berger did eventually step down as lead pastor, but cited that it was part of a plan he'd had for years. His wife, Sarah, made a spectacle at the Sunday Service in August of 2021, accusing the new pastor of conspiring against Berger and the congregation of trying to "cancel her husband."

A Franklin Tennesse Representative is plagued by scandals

Franklin Tennessee Congressman (R) Glen Casada is no choir boy. His tenure as a Congressman was unfortunately plagued by a series of scandals and controversies that severely damaged his name. Casada served as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 2001 to 2020, and was briefly the Speaker of the House. 

Casada was busted for sending racist and derogatory texts to his staff and was embroiled in the scandals of two close mentees. State Representative Jeremy Durham was accused of sexually harassing over 22 women, while Casada's aide Cade Cothren was found to have sent explicit texts to multiple women, many of whom were interns. Casada remained staunchly supportive of both men after the accusations went public, and may have even been involved in text conversations included in both allegations. In 2019, Casada told The Tennessean of his opinions regarding the behavior by saying, "Who am I to hold that against someone when they've turned their life around?" 

The scandals didn't stop there. In 2022, Glen Casada and his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren were indicted on federal charges of bribery and money laundering. The two disgraced politicians allegedly ran a side business under false names, operating as a political consulting firm to give themselves illegal kickbacks. The case is set to go to trial in October of 2023 — however, Casada's lawyers are asking for it to be dismissed. Whew, talk about a fall from grace.

Parents call for a Franklin Tennessee alderman to resign after making remarks about the Covenant School Shooting

On March 27, 2023, a horrific school shooting took place at the Covenant School in Nashville where three students and three faculty members were tragically killed. Franklin Alderman Gabrielle Hanson upset many of the community's parents after she appeared on a podcast and made allegations that there was a "love triangle" between school shooter Audrey Hale and members of the school staff. 

Parents were devastated and offended that she made light of such a horrific shooting and that she tried to sow controversy and blame others for the shooter's actions. Nashville Police believe these claims to be false and have noted that nothing about an alleged love triangle between faculty and students has come up in their investigation.

One parent emotionally told WSMV News, "We parents walked the halls of Covenant about a week after the shooting. We saw where the victims fell. We saw the damage throughout the school. I saw where my daughter held her friend and classmate while gunfire erupted outside her classroom door." Parents officially called for her resignation in May of 2023. The Ethics Commission ended up dismissing all complaints against Hanson, claiming that the complaints "[did] not meet the culpability of the current language that we're required to uphold via the city of Franklin," per The Tennessean. We're all about free speech ... but not the kind that brings distress to families who have already suffered tremendously.