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YOUNGSTOWN Report leads to charge



Published: Thu, August 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The commander of the Crisis Intervention Unit said that if the woman truly needs help, it can be obtained through a court action.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Earline D. Wiggins' false claim that a minister sexually molested a mentally handicapped woman won't go unpunished, a detective said.

"I feel what she did could have ruined his reputation -- that's what was at stake, his valuable reputation," said Detective Sgt. Delphine Baldwin-Casey, commander of the Crisis Intervention Unit. "She says she doesn't remember what she said, but that's only because she got caught."

What caught the 42-year-old Austintown woman was a police investigation after a 911 call that officers tracked to a Breaden Street home. Two teen-agers there said Wiggins, their aunt, made a call around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Warrant issued: Casey obtained a warrant late Wednesday for Wiggins, charging her with making a false statement to a public official, the 911 operator. If convicted of the first-degree misdemeanor, she faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Wiggins told the operator that the South Side minister was sexually molesting a mentally handicapped woman and identified herself as the woman's mother, police reports say. Police were dispatched to a home on West Woodland Avenue and confronted the minister.

The 911 operator told police that the handicapped woman and her mother would meet them at the Woodland house. They never showed.

The minister told police that the mentally handicapped woman had stayed with Wiggins at her home on South Meridian Road. He mentioned to the officers some ongoing problems about money he had given to Wiggins to support the woman. Wiggins is not the woman's mother.

Police had no information Wednesday about the relationship between the minister and the woman.

When first confronted by police, Wiggins denied that she used the phone at the Breaden Street home, saying that she hadn't even gone inside.

Casey said police continued to investigate and then, around 2 a.m. Wednesday, Wiggins called the station downtown, saying she wanted to confess to a call "she believes she made to 911 earlier ... that may have been false," reports show.

Wiggins, in a confusing, handwritten confession, said she was upset by things not being right and pressure on her at church. She denied saying that her minister sexually molested a mentally handicapped woman.

Casey said Wiggins is aware of what she did and if she does truly need help, it can be obtained through court action. "Probably some people will feel sorry for her, but that's not going to help her," the detective said.

Casey said people who make false reports should not expect to escape punishment.

meade@vindy.com




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