Abuse claim called wrong Attorney says woman erred in claiming ex-husband hurt son

She lost custody in 1990

Accused of abduction, mother found in Mich. with boy, now 13

September 30, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Kirsten Scharnberg contributed to this article.

A former Finksburg woman accused of abducting her 5-year-old son after losing a 1990 custody battle was wrong when she claimed her former husband sexually abused their son, her attorney said yesterday.

At a bail review hearing for Sharon Wimperis, 50, in Carroll County District Court, attorney E. Thomas Maxwell Jr. said Wimperis relied on two affidavits by child-protective workers and "was convinced in her mind. She made an emotional decision and she left the state."

The son, Adam J. Wimperis, 13, did not attend the hearing. The boy had been missing until Aug. 5, when the FBI discovered them in Belleville, Mich., near Detroit, and arrested Wimperis. Adam, who was generally kept away from other children and given a false name while he was with his mother, has returned to his father in Finksburg.

"She was wrong; she was wrong," Maxwell said. "Mrs. Wimperis relied upon the expertise -- the alleged expertise -- that they thought the child had been abused."

District Judge Marc G. Rasinsky set bail at $100,000 on two misdemeanor charges involving child abduction by a noncustodial parent. Wimperis had not posted the 10 percent bond by last night.

At the request of Tracy A. Gilmore, Carroll deputy state's attorney, the judge ordered that Wimperis have no visits with Adam unless approved and supervised by his therapist, and that she have no contact with her former husband, William J. Wimperis, or his wife and stepchildren.

William Wimperis declined to comment yesterday. But in an interview last month with The Sun, he talked about losing those eight years with his son and living with his former wife's accusation.

In all the years that Adam was gone, William Wimperis changed little in his Finksburg house. Adam's teddy bear remained on his bed. His colored pictures were still on the refrigerator. Wimperis even refused to put new siding on his house, fearing that if Adam somehow made his way home, he wouldn't recognize the house if it had different siding.

People never knew what to say to him, Wimperis said in last month's interview. Those who believed he was a sexual predator turned away, and those who thought he wasn't felt awkward talking about their children, he said.

"I would tell them, 'It's OK. Go ahead and ask me about him. Talk about him. I need this, too, because talking about Adam is the only way I have of keeping him alive and real for me,' " Wimperis had said.

The abduction case began in April 1990 when Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. awarded William Wimperis custody of Adam, then 5 years old. Sharon Wimperis had visitation rights every Thursday and every other weekend.

According to a state police report, Sharon Wimperis had Adam for a regularly scheduled visit the weekend of June 16, 1990, and said something about taking him to Ocean City -- but vanished instead of returning him Sunday, June 17, Father's Day.

Mother and son moved often during the eight years since then, usually taking a plane or train to new destinations, according to an FBI official who talked to The Sun last month on condition of anonymity.

William Wimperis said last month that Adam thought they lived in more than 10 places, including Oregon, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Sharon Wimperis is charged with abducting a child from custody and keeping him out of state for more than 30 days, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, and abduction by a noncustodial relative and keeping the child inside the state, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

She will stand trial Oct. 16 in District Court.

Sharon Wimperis didn't speak at yesterday's hearing. Dressed in a jail-issue, black-and-white striped jumpsuit, she sat up straight at the defense table.

Rasinsky gave Wimperis the standard order not to leave Maryland and to notify the court if she changes the address where she plans to stay if released.

"She is not a risk to flee, because the very reason she left ini- tially is now here in Carroll County," Maxwell said. "She wants to ++ stay, to establish a relationship with the child, to get visitation."

He noted that she has a grown child here -- and two grandchildren.

In asking for high bail, Gilmore argued, "There is no reason to believe that Mrs. Wimperis will follow this court's order. She received financial support from members of the church throughout the country as they moved around. She made no effort to contact Mr. Wimperis or even let him know Adam was alive."

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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