‘She never feels safe,’ says mother of kidnapped teen

Kidnapping suspect Gerard John Baumgarte pleads guilty to six charges in Court of Queens Bench.

A Red Deer courtroom felt a mother’s anguish on Tuesday as she talked about her abducted daughter’s pain.

“It kills me that I can’t take the pain for her,” the mother told Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Tuesday during the reading of victim impact statements.

Gerard John Baumgarte, 57, of Red Deer pleaded guilty earlier Tuesday to six charges in the abduction and sexual assault of a teenaged Penhold girl last February.

The long distance truck hauler pleaded guilty to kidnapping, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, using an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence, assault using a knife, and falsely representing himself as being a police officer. Originally, Baumgarte was charged with 12 offences in the incident that began on Feb. 26 and ended two days later when Baumgarte released the then-16-year-old.

The sentencing process resumes Thursday and is expected to conclude Friday with the passing of sentence.

The mother said she “feels rage all the time.

“I feel terrible that I couldn’t stop it,” she said.

“She never feels safe and certain smells cause flashbacks,” the mother added.

The victim, who suffers still from post traumatic stress is sentenced for life, the mother said.

The victim, who wasn’t in court, expressed some optimism in her statement, read by her mother.

“This won’t stop me from being all I can be,” the teen said.

The victim doesn’t feel safe in her own home and cries all the time.

She has nightmares almost every night and still receives counselling.

She can’t sleep without medication and is afraid of police officers and police lights.

“I feel disgusting and gross,” the girl’s statement said.

A scar on her cheek still hurts and reminds her constantly of her physical and emotional pain, she said.

An aunt said the family struggles to cope and is constantly reminded of the horror.

“We constantly live this hell on earth,” the aunt said.

Crown prosecutor Orest Yereniuk told Justice Doreen Sulyma that Baumgarte had been fantasizing for two weeks about kidnapping a female before he made his move on the night of Feb. 26.

The girl, who cannot be named by a court order, was driving home at about 9:40 p.m. after taking a quick trip to a nearby convenience store in Penhold.

Posing as a police officer, Baumgarte pulled up and stopped beside the young driver just outside her home. His car was equipped with red and flashing lights.

He wore a fur hat similar to that worn by RCMP officers and his clothing had RCMP flashes and yellow strip down the pant legs similar to Mounties.

He told the victim he was going to write her a ticket because the licence plate on her vehicle was expired.

Baumgarte asked the girl to get into his car. Once inside, he held a knife to her face and slashed her cheek when she struggled.

He then pointed an imitation handgun at her and forced her to wear ski goggles which had been painted black over the lenses, Yereniuk said.

The girl was then tied up. He then put her in the trunk of his vehicle and took her to his residence in north Red Deer.

She was confined for 46-and-a-half hours and during that time, he sexually assaulted her several times, Yereniuk said.

Baumgarte later released the girl and gave her some money so she could call her parents. She called her parents from a Red Deer shopping mall.

Police seized video surveillance tape from the mall and were then able to identify the vehicle and owner by running the licence plate.

Baumgarte was arrested the next day while driving in Red Deer.

During a confession to police Baumgarte said he always wanted to be a policeman.

“The police were always on a pedestal in his eyes,” Baumgarte told police.

The charges he pleaded guilty to carry a maximum penalty of life in jail.


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