Baumann sentenced to a year in jail, five years probation
Attorney says he plans to appeal
Updated Sept. 7, at 3:39 p.m.
WEST BRANCH — Former Hill Township Supervisor Bruce Baumann has been sentenced to 12 months in jail and 60 months probation on two counts of child sexually abusive material.
Baumann was sentenced in 34th Circuit Court Sept. 7, with Circuit Court Judge Michael Baumgartner presiding.
Baumann’s attorney asked the court to delay the start of Baumann’s jail time as he said he intends to appeal the case. Baumgartner ordered that Baumann’s jail time shall commence Dec. 7, at 9 a.m.
Baumann was found guilty of two counts of child sexually abusive material during a bench trial July 24. He had also been charged with capturing/distributing images of an unclothed person after allegedly recording a woman showering in his home in 2009; however that charge was dismissed without prejudice in June 2011.
Baumann’s attorney originally challenged whether the scoring used to determine Baumann’s recommended sentence had been applied properly, saying that there was no proof that Baumann accessed child sexually abusive material over a period of more than 24 hours. However, Baumgartner said there was a log of searches approximately 13 pages long ranging back to 2006 from Baumann’s computer.
Baumann’s attorney argued that the site names logged could be misleading. However, Prosecutor LaDonna Schultz said that three searches were done on Baumann’s computer, the first being simply history, the second sexual terms and the third for sites with child abusive material. She told the judge the list he had was from the third search.
Baumgartner said he was satisfied with the scores.
Baumann’s attorney also asked that the probation condition that Baumann is not to possess or consume alcohol be waived, because Baumann and his father share the “home hobby” of winemaking.
But Schultz argued that reports alleged that Baumann possessed nude photos of girls that had been taken while they were under the influence of alcohol.
“Alcohol can be used to lure children,” Schultz said. “Alcohol can be used to entice children.”
Baumgartner did include the alcohol provision in Baumann’s sentence.
Schultz said there was evidence that Baumann visited thousands of child abusive sites.
“He might say it was done in the privacy of his own house, that he didn’t think he was hurting anyone and it is a victimless crime,” Schultz told the court. “But (the girls in the photos) were all sexually exploited. They are all now damaged for life. Each photo is a tragedy.”
Schultz said paying for those photos creates a market, and that those who do so are just as guilty as those who take the photos.
Prior to issuing Baumann’s sentencing, Baumgartner said he had viewed the exhibits from the case as part of the trial, and that they were “not appropriate in our society.”
“Clearly the images were graphic in detail and were hard to describe,” he said. “They were so offensive and so past that which would be normal in this society.”
As part of Baumann’s probation, he is not to visit with or live in a residence with anyone younger than 17 years old. He must register as a sex offender, and cannot own or possess any computer or device capable of connecting to the Internet. He cannot use telephone numbers or services that are sex-oriented, and cannot enter any business where sexually explicit material is sold. He also cannot possess any sexually explicit materials.
Baumann cannot live anywhere within 1,000 feet of a school zone, and cannot go within 500 feet of parks or playgrounds where children 17 and younger may gather without prior written approval.
His 12 months in jail includes one day credit for time already served.
Baumgartner warned Baumann that in the three to four cases like this he has had in the last five or six years, more than half of the people violated the conditions of their probation by using a computer to access pornography. He said in one case, he sent someone to prison as a result. He said he doesn’t like to send people to prison or jail, but he will.
Baumann served as the Hill Township supervisor until November 2010, when voters recalled him from office by a 358-242 vote for “conduct unbecoming a public official.”