Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christian teacher arrested for raping 14 year old girl

Tyler Baatz, 26, was arrested in August on felony charges of child seduction and sexual misconduct, class D and class B felonies respectively. Today, the former middle school teacher was sentenced to prison for his crime.

Just before Judge Duane Huffer handed down his sentence, Baatz said he is deeply sorry for the pain he has caused the victim, her family, the schools, his friends and the community. “There’s nothing I can do to ever take back what I did … this is something I will personally carry with me the rest of my life.”

The father of the 14-year-old girl Baatz admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with, also addressed the court and, through an emotional statement, said his daughter is dealing with issues related to the violation. “We try to tell her it’s not her fault, but parents tell their kids not to hang out with her … She’s dealing with issues at school, friends who no longer associate with her.”

The victim’s father added, the impact that the events have had have left “such a cloud over our family.”

Two witnesses also spoke in court on behalf of Baatz. Among them was Winona Lake pastor Rodney Valentine who said Baatz sought him out seeking spiritual guidance. ”What happened to these families is grievous but that was a broken man. I see a man who owns his sin and is seeking the help he needs.”

Judge Huffer addressed Baatz during sentencing saying, “This is one of the sad cases we have. Both the victim and perpetrator are young. Here we have a young man with no criminal history, no delinquent act, just appears to be a really good person. But then we get down to the aspect of your own statement in the police report which you said, ‘I alone was responsible, I was the person in a position of trust’ and that says it all.”

With a plea agreement that dropped the class D felony charge of child seduction, Baatz was sentenced for the class B felony crime of sexual misconduct to 6 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with credit for 6 days served. Judge Huffer suspended 3 years of the jail term which will be served on probation. Baatz will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Baatz was jailed Aug. 21 following a Warsaw Police investigation that uncovered an inappropriate relationship with one of his 14-year-old female students at Edgewood Middle School. Baatz had been a teacher at the school for over 3 years but was suspended without pay two days after his arrest before he resigned.

According to a probable cause affidavit released by the Kosciusko County Prosecutor, Baatz admitted to inappropriate conduct with his former student. The acts occurred over a period of three weeks in August at his apartment in Warsaw.

Following sentencing, Baatz hugged several family members and friends and was remanded to the custody of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.

No comments: