By A.J. ALGIER
Sun Staff Writer
WAKEFIELD — Charlestown police have charged Erin L. Goodman, a 40-year-old interfaith minister and mother of two, with assault with intent to commit a felony, based on what they said was the disclosure that she tried to asphyxiate her daughter last year.
The incident was alleged to have occurred at Goodman’s former home at 51 Columbia Heights Road, Charlestown, on July 26, 2013.
Goodman, whose address now is 145 Daniel Drive, North Kingstown, was charged last week following a Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families investigation that began at the end of July 2013. A copy of the report alleging the assault was sent to Charlestown police in April and the department subsequently charged Goodman.
Goodman was arraigned before Judge Madeline Quirk in 4th Division District Court on June 12, the same day as her arrest. Goodman, represented by attorney James Howe of South Kingstown, did not enter a plea. Charlestown police were represented by Lt. Michael J. Paliotta. She was released on $10,000 personal recognizance with a referral to pretrial services for continued mental health counseling; supervised visits with her children were allowed.
The case will be heard in Washington County Superior Court. A screening date of July 11 has been scheduled with the state Attorney General’s Office.
Charlestown police received a report from the Department of Children, Youth and Families in April saying that Goodman had placed a plastic bag over the child’s head “for a period of time” and “attempted to asphyxiate” the youngster, then 9, by using the handles of the bag to strangle her. The incident was reported to have occurred after Goodman had taken the girl and her brother to the basement.
The initial interview that was part of the criminal probe was conducted by a member of the Children’s Advocacy Center and documented by Detective Ryan J. Gwaltney. The center is a program of Day One, a Providence-based trauma resource center that coordinates official dealings with victims of child abuse.
Based on statements given last month to Gwaltney, the police report noted Goodman “was able to stop herself” when the girl screamed. Goodman, according to a DCYF report on the matter, has been receiving mental health care since that time and has not had unsupervised contact with the children.
The police report indicated that Goodman’s husband, John, was not made aware of the incident until the following day. The husband also told police his wife had previous mental health problems and had been treated for them, according to the report.
Goodman’s Facebook page promotes her business as providing “holistic and spiritual support” for individuals, couples and families. Her services include wedding, closure, and baby-naming ceremonies. She serves as a wedding officiant or minister at the ceremonies and has led parenting retreats.
Howe said conditions of her bail included supervised visits with her children and maintaining her mental health counseling. He said she continues to stay in North Kingstown with family and has no criminal background. Howe wouldn’t comment on Goodman’s business ventures as a minister and whether she planned to continue them.