Tyrone Wiggins, the former Philadelphia cop on trial for allegedly raping a girl over an eight-year period, yesterday denied the charge and insisted that all he ever was to the young woman was a mentor, godfather and karate instructor.
"I never touched [the victim] in any way," Wiggins, 51, said during the second and final day of testifying on his own behalf in Common Pleas Court.
Under questioning from his attorney, Scott P. Sigman, Wiggins sought to cast the victim - now a 25-year-old Philadelphia cop - as an ingrate bent on revenge.
Wiggins said the woman made up the rape story only when her application to become a police officer was put on hold in January 2006, after he told department officials that she had once sold drugs. The woman testified that she had never sold drugs.
Wiggins said he met the woman in 1995 when she was 10 years old and joined the karate class he taught at the Olney Recreation Center.
Wiggins said that he told her to stop selling cocaine and other drugs in 2003 and that he even made an audio tape of him lecturing her about the dangers of drug dealing.
When the woman decided to apply to the Police Department in 2005, he said, he served as a reference, but also told her to tell the truth about her past.
Wiggins said that after she told him that she had lied during her first meeting with recruitment officials in December 2005, he decided to give the officials the audio tape and a memo concerning the woman's alleged drug past.
In January 2006, Wiggins said, he met with a detective at the department's recruitment and background office and played the audio tape. The woman made her first threat to ruin him outside the office that day, he said.
"When [she] and I got outside, she got so upset and started crying," he recalled. "She said, 'You know I wanted to be a police officer. I wanted to be just like you.'
"She said, 'You messed up my career and I'm going to mess up yours.' "
A week later, Wiggins said, an officer came to the home on Chew Avenue near Front Street that he shares with his wife and four children to deliver a protection- from-abuse order filed by the woman.
"I fell apart because I had to give up my gun," said Wiggins, who remained on desk duty until August 2007. "Nothing like that had ever happened to me."
The protection-from-abuse order did not mention any allegations of rape or other sexual offenses, he told the jury.
After 23 years and eight months on the force, Wiggins resigned in November 2009 because, he said, he was about to be put back on desk duty because of the allegations. The next day, he was arrested and charged with rape, after a two-year Internal Affairs investigation.