Captain, correctional officer at ECI face child-abuse counts

October 26, 1990

A captain and a correctional officer employed at the state's Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County were charged with child abuse and sexual child abuse Wednesday in connection with alleged assaults against the correctional officer's young daughter.

Charged by state police in Berlin were Capt. Melvin Eugene Bittinger, 33, of Chance, in Somerset County, and Officer Georgia Anne Tilghman, 31, also of Chance. The couple are accused of abusing Officer Tilghman's 5-year-old daughter. The alleged abuse was not described by investigators.

Captain Bittinger and Officer Tilghman, who were released on their own recognizance, were charged with child abuse, assault and battery, and a fourth-degree sexual offense, according to state police.

A spokesman for the state prison system said it is department policy to suspend all employees charged with a felony, such as the assault and battery charge, but he added that no administrative action had been taken as of last night.

The arrests were the result of an investigation between the state police and the Somerset County Department of Social Services.

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