Woman accused of sexual abuse of foster son

A Springfield woman remains jailed after being arrested last week for allegedly having sexual intercourse with her 16-year-old foster son in Washington Park.

Gwanda K. Tribbet, 47, of the 100 block of North MacArthur Boulevard is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault. Her bond is set at $250,000.

The boy and another foster child in Tribbet's care were removed from the home after Tribbet's arrest Dec. 28 and have been placed with other foster families in Springfield, according to Kendall Marlowe, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

DCFS has opened an investigation. There were no prior DCFS investigations against Tribbet, who has been a foster parent for about 15 years, Marlowe said.

According to Springfield Park District police, an officer on patrol saw a vehicle parked in a back corner of the parking lot of the rose garden at Washington Park. A coat was draped over the window, which heightened the officer's suspicions, so he walked up and shined a light on it and found Tribbet and the boy inside.

As the two were getting dressed, police determined the boy was 16 and that the woman was his foster mother.

Police said the boy told the officer the two were having sexual intercourse. They said Tribbet denied it at first, but admitted to "some fondling and other things," police said.

The officer notified DCFS and the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center, which sent detectives from Illinois State Police to interview the boy and Tribbet.

Police said Tribbet later admitted having sexual intercourse with the boy three or four times during the month that he had been in her care.

Marlowe declined to give the age of the second foster son in Tribbet's care. He could not say if investigators are looking into possible inappropriate contact between that child and Tribbet, noting that it is early in the investigation.

"Suffice it to say that is obviously something that we would look into," he said.

Jayette Bolinski can be reached at 788-1530.