When Tammy Gibson saw her daughter talking to a registered sex offender who had just moved to the neighborhood, she decided to protect her child—by repeatedly hitting the man, William Baldwin, with a baseball bat.
Gibson claims she feels no remorse for attacking the 7'3" Baldwin, who police say did not molest her child. "I'd do it again if not better," Gibson says, "I don't care if it hurts me, I don't regret it. It got him away from my kids and all the other kids in the neighborhood." Baldwin is classified as a Level 3 sex offender; he was originally charged with first-degree child molestation for molesting a 5-year-old, and, once on parole, was re-arrested for molesting another 5 year old. Level 3 sex offenders are considered to have a high risk of re-offending, which most likely added to Gibson's concerns.
Gibson says her frustration sprung from the fact that even though Baldwin was required to announce his move to the neighborhood and post flyers alerting community members that a sex offender would be living nearby, he was still able to talk to children in the neighborhood—including Gibson's daughter. "For him to be right there, in front of my house and talking to my child — made me crazy," Gibson says, "And I told him I thought he was a piece of crap and I smacked him. I just didn't stop hitting him. I just told him that 'if it were up to me, I'd kill ya."'
Baldwin, who has since moved from the neighborhood (victory for Gibson, one supposes) says he was "scared. I was frightened. I didn't know what the hell to do," during the attack. But Gibson doesn't care about Baldwin's feelings, nor does she care that she had to break the law to make a larger point: "I would hope that me doing this and going to jail would change something, change some kind of law, change something where people like him can't be standing around little kids you know what I mean?" she says, "It's not right, it's not fair to the kids at all."
The issue this case will hopefully raise, as Gibson notes, is the difficulty in enforcing sex offender laws; only after Gibson beat Baldwin did the police arrive to arrest him for failing to register a new address, meaning he was under the radar and able to contact children without the police being aware of his whereabouts. It's a difficult situation for anyone to be in; Gibson has no right to beat anyone, regardless of their background, yet one can sympathize with the paranoia she must have felt having a high-risk offender living so close to her and her children. Regardless, Gibson, who has a history of assaults, will be spending her time in jail for the next three months.
"I think it's crap; that she was protecting her kids like she should have been," says her daughter, Rachael Porter, "They locked her up for way too long."