Riggins released on $10,000 bail, fired from job Elkridge man charged with having sex with baby sitter

February 06, 1997|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

The Elkridge man arrested and charged with having sex with his daughter's underage baby sitter was released from jail yesterday after posting $10,000 bail.

Paul Stephen Riggins Jr., 39, had been held overnight at the Howard County Detention Center after his arrest Tuesday morning as he left his job at a Dorsey trucking company -- a job from which he was fired the same day, his lawyer said.

Stephen Riggins, as he is known to family and friends, has acknowledged under oath that he also is a suspect in the possible homicide of his wife, Nancy Lee Riggins, who disappeared in July, according to court documents.

On Tuesday, Riggins was charged with child abuse, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense, perverted practice, battery, assault, and furnishing alcohol to an underage person in connection with what police describe as a sexual affair between Riggins and the baby sitter that began around the time of the girl's 15th birthday.

Riggins' bail initially was set at $100,000, but Judge James N. Vaughan reduced it to $10,000 with only $1,000 having to be paid -- apparently agreeing with Riggins' attorneys that because he is unemployed, he would be unable to meet the $100,000 bail.

According to sexually explicit details outlined in charging documents released yesterday, Riggins and the girl, who is now 19, started the relationship in the fall or winter of 1992 when she stayed overnight at the Riggins house after baby-sitting their 2-year-old daughter, Amanda. Riggins was 34 at the time.

The girl told police that she and Riggins had sex at least once a week for the next four years, including the day 2 1/2 years ago that Riggins had a vasectomy and once in the pump room of the swimming pool at the Marriott Hotel in Columbia.

Charging documents show that the girl told police that she continued to look after the couple's daughter regularly while she was having the relationship with Riggins. The relationship ended last year, the documents indicated.

Police say they became aware of the relationship while investigating Nancy Riggins' disappearance. Last month, they searched the girl's Elkridge home and found notes and letters indicating the sexual relationship, several photographs of the girl and Riggins together and many gifts the girl said Riggins gave her -- including a computer, television, videocassette recorder, clothing, shoes and jewelry.

Nancy Riggins was last seen at a Columbia swimming pool on the evening of July 1. Her husband told police that when he arrived home about 6 a.m. July 2 from his job in Curtis Bay, he found Amanda sleeping and his wife missing.

Stephen Riggins did not report his wife missing until the morning of July 3.

Riggins' daughter, Amanda, is the subject of a custody dispute between Riggins and his wife's parents, Robert and Delia Cunningham, who live in New Castle, Pa.

The girl has been living with the Cunninghams, who were given temporary custody by Howard County Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. last summer, shortly after her mother's disappearance.

A hearing in the custody case, focusing on Riggins' request for visitation rights and guardianship of the girl's property, is scheduled today. It was in documents relating to the custody dispute that Riggins last year acknowledged being a suspect in his wife's disappearance.

Pub Date: 2/06/97

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