Tyrone Wiggins: Accident or Cover-Up?

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says it was an accident that a cop under suspicion for child molestation was allowed to continue working with kids. Does anybody believe that?

By Brendan Skwire
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 12 | Posted Dec. 27, 2009

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It doesn't matter if you're a parent or not: the streets of this city should be flooded with vomit at the revelations about Officer Tyrone Wiggins, who allegedly raped a young girl for 8 years, beginning when she was 12 years old.

THAT story is revolting enough, but even worse is the apparent cover-up: Internal Affairs not only took two years to complete their investigation, but no one bothered to tell anyone at the rec center where Wiggins worked with kids as a karate instructor, and where he originally met his young victim. That's right: a sexual predator who happened to be a cop, perhaps the very first person kids think of when you say "trusted authority figure," was allowed to continue working with kids, even though he was being investigated for raping a child. He was arrested, quietly, in November, a day after he retired (and presumably Wiggins still qualifies for a pension and benefits). And as recently as last fucking week the dude was STILL working at a rec center.

Commissioner Ramsey says, "There was no attempt to hide it," but I call bullshit. This is the Philadelphia Police Department we're talking about here, the same department that for years systematically and deliberately under-reported thousands of rapes to improve their crime stats, as the Inquirer uncovered in 1999. It was a major embarrassment for the department, in which the parents of Shannon Scheiber, who was raped and murdered by Troy Graves, faulted the Police Department for "a practice, a pervasive practice and custom of ignoring... and not investigating crimes against women." And while the city was finally exonerated, it left a stain that lingers to this very day, and which the Department is still recovering from.

I'd like to believe the commish, but you don't even have to go back farther than this year to see outrageous abuse of power in the department, when "Officer Jeffrey Cujdik allegedly instructed his longtime informant to lie about drug buys so that Cujdik could obtain search warrants to enter the homes of suspected dealers" and was later discovered to have "routinely conducted "illegal searches" of corner stores, then disabled surveillance cameras to "cover up" their actions and the theft of money and merchandise". Oh, and there were allegations of sexual assault as well. This led to new regulations for the police, including "No sexual relationships. No gifts. No "social, financial or business" dealings. No undocumented meetings or telephone conversations." Yeah, I know: it took a Mensa member to figure THAT one out. Did I mention that, unbelievably, as of December 19, none of these cops have been charged with anything, and many are still drawing paychecks?

Hell, right now Officer Frank Tepper, a well-known hotheaded cop with a penchant for violence, still walks free for what appears to be murder in cold blood. His house is guarded by cops against retaliation from the community, and he's still drawing a salary: you or I would be in jail, awaiting trial. (Well, maybe: we all know the city's bail system works about as well as a 1976 Plymouth).

So pardon me if I'm not buying the department's "oopsie" moment. There's too long a long history of corruption and of doing nothing to address the bad apples in the midst of thousands of cops who are committed to serving the public.

Philadelphia deserves answers. Maybe we can start with Marian Tasco, who's asking the right questions:

 

1. When the Internal Affairs Unit became aware of the context of the allegations against Officer Wiggins, and knowing that he met this girl at the recreation center, why didn’t the Police Department notify the recreation center and/or the Recreation Department so that officials could take preventive action and remove him from his position as a youth karate instructor?

 

2. Why did the investigation take two years to complete?

3. Why wasn’t there full disclosure by the Police Department at the time of the arrest on November 19 as is the Police Department’s practice when other officers are arrested and charged with criminal offenses?

4. Is there suspicion, evidence or are there allegations that this officer has been sexually involved with other children?

5. Why did Police Department officials allow Officer Wiggins to retire on November 18, allowing him to become eligible for his pension and other retirement benefits? Obviously, someone in the Department knew he would be arrested the following day.

 

Tasco adds that while the city expects citizens to cooperate with the cops to help lower our ghastly crime rate, "we must give citizens the confidence of knowing that our authorities are beyond reproach."

At this point, I'm not sure I have that confidence. Not when we have a department with a reputation for downplaying sex crimes, engaging in criminal behavior, and protecting bad cops.

Feeling safer yet?

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 12 of 12
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1. Anonymous said... on Dec 29, 2009 at 05:40AM

“This man assaulted me in 1998 in Orlando, FL. I'm sure it's the same man. How many Tyrone Wiggins, who is experienced in karate, can there be? I'm glad he was finally caught.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Jan 2, 2010 at 08:05PM

“Outrageous. He was allowed to retire the day before he was arrested so he can collect a penison? And this is not a cover-up?”

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3. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2010 at 06:11PM

“This karate teacher was my karate teacher, and he doesn't seem like the person that would do that. Also, who is the girl he "raped" because he has 3 sons and a wife that he loves. So why would he do that? hmmm? He's trained me for 5 years and i recently quit because i had too many things on my hands to finish. So now tell me does this man sound like a rapist?”

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4. Anonymous said... on Oct 7, 2010 at 11:22AM

“This man raped his own daughter.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Oct 31, 2010 at 11:27PM

“my heart goes out to the child who is now a women... only god gave her the strength to come forward... no one know what shes been thur or was sudjected to at the hands of this man... may god have mercy on his soul...”

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6. open minded said... on Dec 7, 2010 at 10:09PM

“Come on people there are always two sides to every story. Pay attention and read between the lines. First of all where is her mother I would think that she would be by her daughters side. As well as the rest of her family and if she has any brothers, I am surprised that they are not there to support her, you know brothers tend to be very over protected of there sisters. Now when she was a little girl and this first happened why didn't anyone see that something was wrong especially her mother. Its no way that a child who was so viciously hurt as she said she was and not be phyiscally and mentaly messed up come on!! someone would of notice her being withdrawn and afraid, and where are the hospital records you know she would have needed medical attention. But she continued to be around that same man who hurt her, she went back to the school where karate was being taught...now why would she go back knowing that he hurt her and why would mommy let her go back there. So heres my next question, why didn't mommy or someone contact the police along time ago when this happend as i said she would have needed some medical attention, she being 12 and he a grown man come on this makes no sense. This is nothing but a case of revenge. Woman know that all they have to do is cry rape and they will get attention. I am sure that there are men in prison to this day that were accused of rape and it never happened. There is no evidence no proof no nothing its all her word agianst his, lies lies and more lies. And the media they thrive off of the negative cause they know that is all people want to see and hear. It is horrible to lie on someone just because you want revenge. Well guess what you do reap what you sow and that is a true fact.”

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7. jucy said... on Dec 7, 2010 at 10:50PM

“Please come on people it is always two sides to every story. First of all where is her mother why isn't she by her side or for that fact where is the rest of her family to support her in this troubling time. I find this to be foolish and so not true. Heres my thing if she was so viciously hurt by this man as she said she was why didn't her mother or someone contanct the police along time ago. For one she being 12 and he being a grown man that little girl would have been messed up physically as well as mentally. She surely would have needed medical attention so where are the hospital records. And I believe if she had been touched someone especailly mommy would have noticed that her daughter would have been withdrawn and scared. Now I can't understand why she would go back around the man that hurt her and why mommy would even allow it. She went back to the school where karate was being taught knowing that the man that hurt her was there. Come on that makes no sense.”

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8. jucy said... on Dec 7, 2010 at 11:05PM

“I also like to add that she goes on to say that she had a relationship with him over the years. Sweety that make no sense at all....so now why would you want a realtionship with someone who hurt you as a child get real. Stop the lies they do eventually catch up with you. Now be a good cop and tell the truth....”

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9. Anonymous said... on Dec 9, 2010 at 09:15AM

“if this is true its sad, but you can't go ruining peoples lives (fire them, take away thier livelihood) based on allegations. No one should shut anyones life down until they have had the full legal course due them.

I hope it isn't true for the sake of the many children who took his classes. But either way, he is due the same privacy and saftey that anyone who hasn't been convicted is due. And i'm sure his wife and 4 children would at least want that, and are due that as private citizens.

your innocent until proven guilty. If found guilty, then lets not take away his pension from his large family who did nothing wrong. Put him jail where he belongs. If innocent, then this ruins his life.”

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10. Anonymous said... on Dec 10, 2010 at 08:34AM

“if there were not two sides to ever story, everyone would be in jail. it doesn't mean he's not guilty or inncent....just that he is due the same process as anyone. if the police took two years to investigate, that is thier fault.

And unless anyone was there but mr. wiggins and his accuser, all that can fairly be done is let a jury of his peers review the case and make a sound descision.

This isn't Salem, people.”

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11. Fran said... on Dec 16, 2010 at 09:05AM

“#3 says that "he doesn't seem like the person that would do that. #3 also seems to think that because he has children and a wife that loves him that he is somehow incapable of rape. I feel sorry for you. You are incredibly naive. I guess you think that most rapists typically jump out of some dark alley to pounce on some unsuspecting female. The reality is they look like average Joes and a lot of times are people you wouldn't ordinarily suspect. The fact that he has children doesn't mean that he won't rape yours. And what does his wife's love have to do with it?

He finally got what he deserved. I hope he stays in jail until he dies. There is a special place in Hell for all pedophiles.”

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12. Anonymous said... on Jan 27, 2013 at 12:50PM

“he a rapits and in jail he still trys to cotrol everthing on the outside i did time with him in jail he did it dont let him out

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