Woman says Tampa Domestic Violence shelter put secrecy before safety when her child was molested
This is the story of a Good, Loving Mother, Taneka Rodman, and her five Children. In a time of a Mother’s worst nightmare, this dear Lady faced the unending nightmare alone.
TAMPA, FL – Back when Spring officials refused to help police investigate Rodman’s daughter’s abuse case, Tampa detectives moved slowly during their investigation.
It took them 18 days to get the girl in front of a special “forensic” interviewer trained to make children feel comfortable and elicit testimony that would stand up in court. Experts say these interviews should happen as quickly as possible to make sure a child’s memories aren’t muddled by time and outside influence.
Meanwhile, records show that detectives never spoke to the two witnesses who saw Wimbley take the girl into a bathroom. One died in her bunk with cocaine in her system nine days after the incident. They never reached out to the second witness, who told the Times she heard Wimbley curse and make gang references.
The woman told the Times she is still willing to speak with detectives. But police said they needed to speak to someone who saw what happened inside the bathroom.
“Child abuse cases are hard to corroborate,” said Lt. Ruth Cate, who supervised the detective on the case. “We want a conviction. That’s a bottom line. If the child can’t tell us enough, we’re done.”
The state’s Department of Children and Families conducted its own investigation in January 2015 and “verified” that Wimbley molested the girl. These documents are not public record, but Rodman obtained them and showed them to Times reporters. A DCF investigator wrote that there is “concern” Wimbley could have abused other children at the shelter.
In the last efforts of the police investigation, Detective Miguel Caballero spent months in a game of phone tag with Wimbley. He never managed to reach her for a follow-up interview.
In February, the Times left a letter for Wimbley at the address on file with the police. Two days later she called.
In two separate phone interviews, Wimbley said she was blamed because of “racism,” even though she, Rodman and the child are black. She repeated what she told police, that she didn’t know the girl or her family.
She said she would not speak again unless the Times could get President Barack Obama and the first lady on the phone at the same time — “Michelle and Barack.”
• • •
Justice is a strange thing.
On the morning of May 12, 2015, Rodman was unemployed as she trained to become a medical assistant. She was short on cash and short on food, and she didn’t want her children to be hungry at school.
So she stepped into a Seminole Heights Circle K with her kids, who helped her slip food into her purse — a couple of soda cans, chips, peanuts, beef jerky and gum.
“I understand it’s a crime,” she said. “I panicked.”
This time, Tampa police detectives didn’t give up so easily.
The case stretched on for seven months.
Police reviewed surveillance footage to pick out her license plate and then tracked down her husband — the reason she went to the Spring.
He wasn’t home, but two of his relatives identified her as the shoplifter in the video.
Three days before Christmas, prosecutors filed charges of theft and contributing to the delinquency of minors, her children.
On Monday, Rodman will turn herself in at the Orient Road Jail.
She pleaded no contest in exchange for a reduced sentence, and will spend 30 days behind bars.
NOT IN MY WORLD!!!! is attempting to reach out, and communicate with this Dear Lady.