There were more than just warning signs that went unnoticed during gay activists William Dale Zulock Jr. and Zachary "Zack" Jacoby Zulock's expedited adoption process. A little over four years later, the adoptive fathers of two are now facing a laundry list of charges for unspeakable sex crimes they allegedly committed against their young adopted sons, including rape, producing child pornography of the children's "routine" sexual abuse, and prostituting their 11-year-old boy to pedophiles in the area.
In the latest installment of the Zulock horror story, we're exposing everything we learned about the faith-based special-needs adoption agency that the same-sex couple used to adopt the two boys; the role that Georgia's child-welfare system played in placing the children, who are back in foster care, in an abusive household; and the lack of accountability across the board.
We're naming names.
Townhall has learned that seven years prior to the adoption, Zachary was accused of being a child rapist, but was never charged.
More than a decade ago, there was a 2011 probe into Zachary's alleged pedophilic behavior when he was accused of luring a 14-year-old boy to a residence in Walton County, the same jurisdiction as today's horrifying child sexual abuse case, and having anal sex with the underage victim. But, the 2011 child rape case was shut down and no charges were pursued against Zachary.
Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney Randy McGinley, who serves Walton County, has now formally asked the Walton County Sheriff's Office to continue its previous probe because he believes "it was closed without a whole lot of investigation into it."
"The 2011 case is being looked into by my office along with the Sheriff's Office," McGinley confirmed in an email to Townhall.
Lt. Zachary Barrett of the criminal investigations division told Townhall that Walton County Sheriff's Office has been "in constant communication" with McGinley and the district's attorney office "while navigating the case involving the Zulocks, including after the initial arrest took place and detectives uncovered the past allegations." As for why the 2011 case was closed, Barrett wrote:
The 2011 case was handled in a manner that is inconsistent with today's current investigatory standards but the law enforcement officers in the Criminal Investigations Division at that time have since retired. Current WCSO detectives are assessing the case and seeking any leads that may still yield charges. As with all cases, our detectives are diligent and passionate when it comes to charging child molesters and will always seek justice for the victim.
Walton County Sheriff's Office denied Townhall's public records request seeking a copy of the incident report that the 2011 case is based on. An investigator in the sheriff's office contacted Det. Kristilee Cavoretto, the detective overseeing the current Zulock investigation and a name near the top of the state's witness list, "just to verify that information in the previous case will not hinder the active case at this time." Cavoretto has reopened the 2011 case, the investigator replied. "Nothing is releasable at this time."
Cavoretto's email signature includes this ironic quote:
The boys could have been rescued as early as June 2020. Zachary had posted about a Walton County Sheriff's Office deputy appearing outside his and William's old, small-scale Snellville house, where the Zulock couple first lived with the boys until their massive Oxford mansion was suspiciously constructed in record time mid-2020. A police cruiser was parked at the end of the couple's driveway and a responding deputy was on the scene because reckless teen drivers had hit the Zulock family's mailbox.
"Luckily this was later in the day/night and [the boys] were not outside playing....thank GOD," Zachary wrote on Facebook.
Zachary, who affectionately calls his husband "My #partnerincrime for life," started dating William in the summer of 2013 and the men married about four years later in December 2017. Since they've been together, William said he "look[ed] forward to the day" they can "start a family." The gay newlyweds then sought to locally adopt children not long after their picturesque wedding.
How was a previously accused child rapist able to adopt two children with his newly-wedded husband? Apparently, with ease.
In 2018, the Zulock co-defendants adopted the two brothers through All God's Children, Inc., a now-defunct private special-needs adoption agency in Watkinsville, which focused on children in the state who have "waited the longest" to be placed with a family.
All God's Children matched families with special-needs children "considered more difficult to place because they are older, need to be placed with their siblings or have physical, mental or emotional/behavioral challenges," reads the agency's overview.
The brothers, now ages 9 and 11, already came from a broken home where their biological parents were addicted to heroin, per a relative's knowledge. "I do think they had every intention, and this is why they adopted them for this purpose," another family member, who spoke exclusively with Townhall out of concern for the sibling pair's well-being, expressed. William and Zachary "preyed on" the children's vulnerability as kids raised by struggling heroin addicts, Townhall's family insider asserted.
As well as undergoing criminal background checks, William and Zachary were required to attend mandatory pre-adoption parenting classes called Parents as Tender Healers (PATH) trauma-informed training curriculum to "learn more about parenting children with a history of losses." An agency caseworker also completed a family assessment, which was presented to social workers throughout Georgia for match-making, and a home study of the Zulocks. The entire undertaking took eight to 12 weeks.
Seven months after the boys moved in on March 30, 2018, Georgia's courts made the "forever family" official on Nov. 7, 2018.
All God's Children, a former member-agency of the Georgia Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies (GALAA)'s statewide network, had "work[ed] in partnership with the Georgia Department of Human Services," which oversees the state's Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS), "to find families for Georgia's waiting children," according to the agency's description.
Townhall contacted Georgia DHS regarding how much oversight and involvement it had in the agency's operations.
Georgia DHS communications director Kylie Winton stated that the DHS's office of residential childcare, a unit tasked with inspecting, monitoring, and registering child-care facilities, licenses adoption agencies "for the placement of children in adoptive homes" and that such licensed, private agencies "focus primarily on the adoption of children who are not in the custody of DFCS."
However, some child-placing agencies (CPA) provide adoption services for children "who are in permanent custody of DFCS through existing contracts," Winton wrote in an email statement to Townhall. The state's DFCS provides each child-placing agency "with guidelines for home approvals and qualifications for staff working under the contract," Winton explained.
Townhall also asked if the 2011 case was ever officially brought up over the course of the adoption process and if the alleged incident ever appeared during Zachary's criminal records check when the co-defendant applied to become an adoptive parent.
"DFCS child welfare and CPS records are confidential under state law," the DHS spokesperson replied. "As such, we are unable to comment on the specifics of any child welfare or abuse/neglect cases nor confirm or deny the existence of related records."
As for how involved Georgia DFCS was in the agency's background checks, family placement, and home visits, Winton said:
All families are required to undergo background checks—including fingerprint-based checks of state and national crime information databases and checks of child abuse and neglect registries—whether they are working with a child placing agency (CPA) or DFCS. DFCS selects families for children through a home study review process. Home visits are made by both the CPA and the DFCS case manager monthly (at minimum) through finalization.
"Everything seemed fine. I actually thought DFCS would be more scrutinizing with them because they were a same-sex couple," the Zulock family insider told Townhall. However, "it seemed like they passed everything with flying colors," the source said.
"The adoption process is moving along faster than expected!" exclaimed the Facebook event page for William and Zachary's adoption shower, which was held at their old Snellville house in March 2018, two years before the Oxford mansion's construction.
The domestic non-profit dissolved in October 2022, according to the Georgia Corporations Division. The family member, who was given access to Zachary's social media accounts, saw that he had privately discussed on Instagram its impending dissolution with All God's Children ex-executive director Emily Carole Bailey when he was "going to refer someone to yall on the website."
"Unfortunately we had to close," Bailey wrote to Zachary, who reacted with the crying-face emoji, in a private Instagram chat.
Zachary disclosed that he and William were deciding on adopting a girl, too: "[W]e are still trying to decide if we want to try and adopt a girl," he said. "We are doing awesome. The boys have changed so much from when we first met them. They aren't even the same kids," he messaged, stating that their older child used to be in an emotional-and-behavioral disorder (EBD) classroom.
"I just wanted to personally thank you and everyone who was involved in our process. The boys truly changed our lives," he said.
"It makes me so happy to hear this," Bailey wrote back. "So glad you and the boys are thriving." Zachary then asked Bailey for a personal recommendation on another adoption agency. To which, Bailey recommended two agencies "open to same sex families": Bethany Christian Services, the most influential and largest conservative Christian adoption agency in America, and CHRIS 180, the first and largest non-profit organization in Georgia "to openly celebrate and serve LGBTQ+ youth."
"Thanks sooooo much Emily," Zachary messaged, pinging a heart reaction.
Flash forward to this past summer, the county's DFCS office was "notified about the need for emergency protective placement for two young children" and joined Athens-Clarke County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program (ACC-SANE) advocates, who provided forensic medical attention to the abused Zulock boys, in the midnight July rescue operation at the family's mansion.
Both boys were placed in DFCS custody. "They made us give up our parental rights on Aug. 1..." William, who signed over custody of the children to the state at an August hearing, said in a recorded jailhouse call shared with Townhall.
"I really don't want them back in foster care, because they don't deserve that," William said.
Zachary had lambasted the children's former foster parents in a private Messenger chat from July 2020 with a Facebook friend.
"And yes a lot of kids are sexually abused, especially in foster care. Some people only foster for the [money], and don't give a sh*t about the kid(s)," Zachary wrote. "The boys foster parents were not bad people, however, they only did it for the money."
"To abuse a child (physical, mentally, or sexually) is despicable [...] Our legal system is so F*cked up," Zachary messaged.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Zachary emphasized: "I have always believed that kids are a RED line not to be crossed. You don't attack physically (of course), verbally or anything to a child [...] We are...making our boys lives better and full of love."
"I could never foster because I have a HUGE heart and I would get attached to the child and would want to adopt them all..." he typed, after stating they're hoping to adopt a toddler-aged girl next. "We would prefer like a 2 or 3 year old," Zachary wrote.
"They only get to be kids for such a small amount of time," Zachary said. "Let them enjoy it."
In the same chat, Zachary was invited to go on a ride-along with the Facebook friend's police husband. "...[P]ersonally, even as a white man, I have had a bad feeling and a couple experiences that ended fine over my life," Zachary replied. "About cops."
Zachary had ranted on Facebook about the need to reform the foster-care system and adoption process in America. "All kids deserve a loving and safe home," Zachary wrote in one post. "How many may be tempted by...prostitution?" he asked in another.
Out of the 672,594 foster children documented in 2019, how many will "Get the love the[y] deserve?" Zachary questioned.
Zachary also criticized conservative speaker Cissie Graham Lynch's speech during the 2020 Republican National Convention, where evangelist Rev. Billy Graham's granddaughter fought to protect the religious freedoms of Christian-run organizations.
"I'm not sure if the adoption agency that William and I used would have stopped us because we are gay, for the longest time, that never even crossed my mind [...] If we had not been allowed to adopt [the boys], that's taking 'our rights away.' What about all the LGBTQ couples out there that have been stopped from adopting?! What about their rights?" Zachary wrote in a Facebook post.
Stay tuned for Part 4, to be released on Friday, January 20, 2023, detailing what jail is like for two accused child rapists.
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