2 NC officers charged with child abuse involving special needs toddler, officials say

GRAHAM, N.C. (WFMY) — A former Elon University police officer and her husband, who is a deputy with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, are facing felony child abuse charges.

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Court documents accuse the couple of causing a “pattern of severe bruises all over the body and a shoulder injury” to a 3-year-old boy with special needs.

Police also said the child was unable to communicate.

The child involved is Deputy Christopher Wilburn’s child from a previous relationship. Erin Rumley, the former Elon University Police Officer, is Wilburn’s current wife, but not the child’s mother.

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According to the SBI, the child’s daycare reported signs of abuse to DSS, which led to an investigation of Wilburn and Rumley.

The child is now with his biological mother.

Details are limited because the case involves a minor, but WFMY has confirmed the following information:

  • Erin Rumley has been fired by Elon University.
  • Wilburn is on administrative leave with pay. He has worked for the sheriff’s office for six years. He’s currently part of the patrol division.
  • Wilburn and Rumley have been charged with felony child abuse inflicting serious physical injury.
  • The SBI has been investigating the case since March 2017.
  • The alleged incident happened between September 2016 and March 2017.
  • In addition to the SBI investigation, the Alamance County Sheriffs Office has launched its own internal investigation into the allegations of child abuse against Wilburn.

Rumley and Wilburn made their first appearance in district court on Tuesday afternoon.

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The couple stood quietly as a judge read their charges and set a new court date of November 1.

Elon University released a statement about Erin Rumley charges and the arrest:

On October 16, 2017, Elon University Campus Safety and Police was notified that a member of the department, Erin Rumley, had been arrested and charged with a felony crime unrelated to her work at the university. Based on the criminal charges and other information provided to the university by authorities, the university has terminated Rumley’s employment for cause, effectively immediately.

Erin Rumley was sworn in as an Elon University police officer on March 13, 2017. Because of medical issues, she never served as a campus patrol officer. She has been on leave since September 14.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office has launched an internal investigation, which independent of the SBI’s investigation.

Moving forward, a spokesperson for the Alamance Co. District Attorney’s office says the case will now go to a grand jury for indictment and then the case will proceed to superior court.

If convicted, the charge carries a mandatory active prison sentence.

Copyright 2017 WFMY

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