Councilwoman Marion Tasco sent the following letter to Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, after today's Daily News story about a retired police officer quietly arrested on the charge that he sexually assualted a young girl for eight years.
Mr. Charles H. Ramsey
Philadelphia Police Department
One Franklin Square
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Dear Commissioner Ramsey:
I was shocked to read in this morning's Philadelphia Daily News about the arrest on statutory sexual charges of retired Officer Tyrone Wiggins. As was reported in the newspaper, Officer Wiggins worked with children at the Olney Recreation Center, which is located in my Council District, which is where he allegedly met the young girl he assaulted.
I am concerned on a number of levels about police procedure in this case. Would you please provide answers to me on the following 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.
More pointedly, I would like to have confidence in the Police Department that the practices that came to light in this case are not systemic, as to further place more of Philadelphia's children in harm's way.
We appeal to the citizens of Philadelphia to cooperate with the authorities to help fight crime in our city, but in doing so, we must give citizens the confidence of knowing that our authorities are beyond reproach.
In this case, I have more questions than answers. I am in no way accusing the fine men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department with a cover-up. However, the Internal Affairs Unit's silence during its investigation and subsequent arrest of Officer Wiggins the very day after he retired from the police force begs for an explanation.
Marian B. Tasco
Ninth District Councilwoman and Majority Leader