Archive for December, 2012

COGIC sex abuser Thomas Wiggins headed to prison for 6-9 years

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Good news as justice is finally being served against the former North Carolina COGIC Supt Thomas Wiggins, Jr. who sexually abused a 14 year old boy all while he was “preaching”, pastoring two churches and climbing his denomination’s ecclesiastical ladder. The Star News Online reported on Monday that Wiggins is headed to prison to serve between 6 and 9 years for his crimes. See our previous coverage on Thomas Wiggins here and here.

wigginsA Wilmington pastor pleaded guilty to six counts of felony sexual abuse of a minor by a substitute parent during a hearing in New Hanover County Superior Court on Monday.

Thomas Archie Wiggins, 55, a pastor at Wilmington’s Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, was sentenced to between six years and three months and nine years and nine months in prison. He was taken into custody Monday.

After serving the sentence, the Wilmington resident also must register as a sex offender for 30 years.

Wiggins was arrested in November 2011 and charged with five counts of first-degree sexual offense and five counts of indecent liberties with a minor after he admitted to abusing a then 14-year-old boy who had been in his care during 1998 and 1999, New Hanover County Assistant District Attorney Lance Oehrlein said during the hearing.

This is a textbook case of how church sexual predators work.  If Bishop Charles Blake were serious about rooting out these individuals in his denomination, he would study this and take proactive measures to block their access to children.

The teen often stayed at the pastor’s Governours Square apartment on the weekends and during summer months.

That’s when the predatory behavior began, Oehrlein said.
“The victim was given spending money, taken to stores to buy things and was given a lot of freedom that he didn’t have at home,” he said. “It started very slowly with wrestling matches and then accelerated when the victim was given access to cable and TV pornography.”

The two also shared a bed in the one-bedroom apartment, Oehrlein said.

One night, the teen awoke to Wiggins fondling him. The incidents then escalated, with Wiggins performing oral sex on the boy and vice versa, the prosecutor said.

“Meanwhile, the victim’s mother is 50 miles away and the defendant is acting as a parent and making decisions about him,” Oehrlein said.

Single pastors shouldn’t be given a pass about their private lives. Too many church members are enamored with their pastor’s church persona (pedophiles develop very benevolent  public personas), they fail to notice things that just don’t add up.  Pastors who are overly benevolent to young children and teens should he scrutinized. If a child’s life as well as their sexual and spiritual well being is in question, no amount of scrutiny is undeserving.

Another missing element in reforming COGIC and its ongoing problem with sex crimes involving leaders is the silent aftermath. Even after a leader has been convicted and found guilty, the denomination’s leader keep up the code of silence and denial. This gives the false impression that all is well. It also signals other pedophiles that they can expect the church will keep quiet about what they are doing. After all, that’s what they have done for all the other pedophiles. Conversely, making a public statement sends a strong signal that the church is serious about the issue.  Unfortunately, there’s little evidence this is true.