The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 14, 2012

Police: Mom hooked child on drugs

By John Finnerty
The Daily Item

— BEAVER SPRINGS — A Beaver Springs mom has been charged with hooking her young daughter on drugs, including heroin, and a 22-year-old Beaver Springs man was arrested on allegations that he exchanged drugs for sex with the now 14-year-old girl.

All of the allegations took place in Apt. 1 of 901 Center Ave., Spring Township. The girl’s name is being withheld because of the nature of the case.

The child told investigators she had smoked marijuana, used prescription pills, crack cocaine and intravenous drugs such as heroin and that when she was too weak to inject herself with drugs, her mother, Brandi Baumgardner, would inject her. The girl told investigators that her mother had injected her with drugs about 200 times, beginning when she was 14.

The allegations came to light while the teen was in counseling at Clear Vision, a residential treatment center in Montgomery.

The girl was interviewed in August at Clear Vision by state police investigators, and she told them she would become so “dope sick” that she was unable to inject herself.

She said Robert Thomas Hannick, 22, of Beaver Springs, would sometimes inject the drugs for her. The girl also told investigators that Hannick provided her with suboxone, a prescription drug for opioid dependence, in exchange for sex and that the pair had sex three times and engaged in sexual contact on another occasion.

Hannick was interviewed by state police in January. Questioned about the allegations, Hannick told a state police sergeant, “I know she was 14, that’s how I feel,” according to court documents. Hannick denied providing the girl with drugs, police said.

The girl told investigators that she was 12 when she had started smoking marijuana with her 38-year-old mother.

From there, they allegedly progressed to other drugs. The girl told investigators she was 14 when she began shooting up drugs with her mother and they shared Fentanyl patches. At times, Baumgardner would take the teen to a hospital to fake illness to get prescription drugs, she said. Other times, Baumgardner would drive to Harrisburg to pick up heroin for them to share, the girl said.

When Baumgardner was interviewed, she acknowledged that she and her daughter shared a drug problem and admitted “to supplying the victim with drugs on occasion when she was ‘sick,’ ” trooper Wayne Ghrist wrote in court documents.

District Attorney Mike Piecuch said he was aware of the allegations, but declined to comment on them Thursday. Piecuch said he did not know what connection Hannick had with Baumgardner and the girl.

Sue Alberti, executive director at Clear Vision, a residential treatment center for young women in Montgomery, said staff there are required by law to report sexual abuse so whenever a client discloses that she has been a victim of abuse, the center will notify the state ChildLine hot line. Alberti said she didn’t know how often staff make such referrals. In many cases, the sexual abuse allegations are already known when the girls arrive for treatment.

However, in some cases, the abuse will go unrecognized until the girls speak about it in counseling because “it’s the first time they have felt safe to talk,” Alberti said.

Clear Vision serves as many as 24 teenage girls at a time, providing intensive counseling during stays that typically run from 6 to 12 months. The purpose of that counseling is to give the girls the opportunity to change the way they act and the way they perceive the world. It is a process that is made much more difficult when the girls learn the damaging behavior from their parents, Alberti said.

Cases of parents using drugs with their children are “much more common than you would think feasible,” she said.

Hannick was charged with statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and corruption of minors.

Baumgardner was charged with endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.