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Posted: June 13, 2010 12:01 a.m.

Man pleads guilty to aggravated child molestation of stepsisters

Submitted Photo /

Brandon Wiggins

Warning: The following article contains some details that may be disturbing to more sensitive readers. In order to protect their identity, the juvenile victims have not been named.

A 26-year-old man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison and life on parole for the aggravated child molestation and statutory rape of his two juvenile stepsisters.

Brandon Wiggins initially requested a jury trial but after a disturbing video of the two girls during a forensic interview was displayed in court, he decided to take a negotiated plea. It also allowed for several of the charges (one charge of rape and three counts of child molestation) to be dropped.

This time last year, the charges came to light. Wiggins had been carrying on a sexual relationship with Juvenile A. It began the summer following her fifth grade year and continued until the summer after her seventh grade year. Although it was consensual, the law in Georgia is clear — any person under the age of 16-years-old cannot consent to a sexual act.

Juvenile A’s mother was the one who first noticed something was amiss when her daughter came to visit her in Chicago. She testified in court that she overheard the end of a conversation with her daughter in which she told someone she loved them. When asked who she was talking to, she said "Brandon, my stepbrother."

"It didn’t sound like an ‘I love you’ you would say to your stepbrother," she told the court. "I asked her if she’d had sex with him and she said ‘how did you know?’"

She contacted a detective in Chicago who told her she would have to file charges in Newton County and who gave her advice on how to proceed in the meantime, suggesting that she act like nothing was wrong and that she not threaten to call the authorities. The woman said that during that time she also learned that her eldest daughter might be pregnant, though it turned out to be just a scare.

When she brought Juvenile A back to Newton County she was immediately taken to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and from there to A Child’s Voice, a child advocacy center, for a forensic interview. After that, she questioned her youngest daughter, Juvenile B, who admitted she knew about the relationship with Brandon and her sister.

"I asked her if anything had ever happened between them and she broke down crying," said the woman. "She said that he tried to have sex with her and it hurt and she told him no…" she said, sobbing.

Juvenile B was then taken to the NCSO for a forensic interview as well. The sisters’ interviews could not have been more different. Juvenile A was guarded and protective of Brandon, still considering him her boyfriend, while her sister, who was 11-years-old at the time, accused her stepbrother of raping her.

The girls father took the stand next, testifying that he was no longer married to Wiggins’ mother and that he found out about the sexual relationship between Wiggins and his oldest daughter from Wiggins himself during a camping/fishing trip to Helen.

"Brandon came and told me…" he began, pausing for several seconds to compose himself. "He told me that he messed with my daughter," he continued, sniffing. "He told me that she might be pregnant… And then I hit him."

Newton County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Bell played the forensic interviews for the jury. In Juvenile A’s interview, she admitted she knew why she was there but that "she didn’t like talking about it." She also said that she and Wiggins were "really close" but that she wouldn’t call him her boyfriend because her parents would get mad. She said he was nice and cute and that she wasn’t with him because "we aren’t allowed to be together."

She eventually said the two had engaged in sex more than 30 times in Newton County, sometimes in the living room, other times in her bedroom, the bathroom or the barn.

Juvenile B was much more open in her forensic interview. When asked why she was there she said because she had been "abused and raped by Brandon."

She said the first incident occurred on the couch in the living room. She was watching "Hannah Montana" and Wiggins came over and started touching her inappropriately and that she told him to stop but instead of stopping he pulled her pants down and forced himself on her.

"He pulled my pants off and I tried to pull them up but it was too late," she said, adding that she was able to get away and that Wiggins had followed, telling her if she told they would both get in trouble. She said that she ran outside and stayed there until she heard her father’s truck, which was when she knew it would be safe to go inside.

A second incident occurred in the bathroom when Wiggins forced his way inside the room and forced her to perform oral sex on him. During the video, her father dropped his head into his hands and started to cry, several women in the jury could also be seen crying.

"Brandon said ‘don’t tell or we’ll all go to jail,’" she said. She also expressed concern that she would have to testify against Wiggins in court, said that when he got out of jail "he will probably come find me and hurt me again."

During a recess following Juvenile B’s forensic video, Wiggins decided to take a plea deal.

On the aggravated child molestation charges he received life on probation with the first 25 years to be served with no possibility of parole and 20 years confinement on the statutory rape charges which will run concurrent. Wiggins’ mother covered her mouth and cried when he admitted his guilt on the charges.

Although both juvenile victims had not been in the courtroom during the trial, they were permitted to come in for sentencing. Juvenile A had prepared a victim impact statement that she asked Bell to read to the court.

"You know what you did to me was really wrong…" the statement reads. "I know it will always be in my head and I will never forget it… What really hurts me the most is what you did to my sister… I wish I had told earlier so my sister wouldn’t have to live with this… But I will not let you win this battle…"

The girls’ mother addressed the court next, telling the judge that Juvenile A suffers from panic attacks and has tried to hurt herself.

"What he’s done to my kids is wrong," she said, crying. "They suffer every day."

Their father expressed guilt. "I feel bad for not protecting them more," he said.

After sentencing Wiggins, Newton County Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn addressed the victims.

"I hope this will be the first step toward rebuilding your lives so that you can go forward. And know that you did win."

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