Fearful Mom Attacks 7-Foot Sex Offender

Woman held in child predator's bat beating; man held for failing to register.

June 21, 2008— -- Standing 7 feet 3 inches tall and registered as his state's highest-risk type of sex offender, William Baldwin is tough to miss in his Pierce County, Wash., neighborhood.

Wielding a bat, Tammy Lee Gibson, 40, Baldwin's neighbor, found the man and beat him so badly that he needed to go to the hospital before officers arrested him again for failing to register as a Level 3 sex offender at a new address.

He sat Friday in the Pierce County Jail on $20,000 bond -- the same jail where Gibson was being held on $15,000 bond.

Gibson faces felony assault and harassment charges tied to the beating, which occurred shortly after Pierce County sheriff's officers distributed fliers notifying residents that Baldwin, 24, had moved into the neighborhood.

Gibson originally told police that Baldwin had molested her daughter but later pulled back the accusation, claiming instead that she had seen Baldwin talking to her 10-year-old daughter last July 4. The flier from the sheriff's office, she said, made her snap.

"If I had to do it again, I would do it again," Gibson said in a jailhouse interview with Seattle news channel KIRO. "The picture in my head of him talking to my daughter in front of my house scared me."

Gibson said that she wanted Baldwin to know that no children were going to fall victim to him in their neighborhood as long as she lived there. She would have killed him if she could, she said.

"I was thinking he would never hurt any child again," she told KIRO. "I guess I never got that far."

Gibson admitted in the interview that Baldwin had never touched her 10-year-old daughter. The thought alone, however, "made me crazy," she said. She also claimed Baldwin had given her daughter fireworks in the past.

Baldwin was booked on Tuesday for failing to register as a sex offender after deputies interviewed neighbors in the area who said that he had been living in the area for several months. It was not until recently that he had completed the paperwork required to register at his new home.

Baldwin is a registered Level 3 sex offender in Washington state, originally convicted of first-degree child molestation for an incident in which he forced a 5-year-old girl to touch his penis during a game of hide-and-seek. While on parole for that incident, Baldwin lured another 5-year-old neighbor into a backyard doghouse and touched her vagina. The convictions define Baldwin as having a high risk of re-offending.

Baldwin also sat down for a jailhouse interview with KIRO. He described Gibson's approaching him, verifying his identity and picking up a bat.

"She picked it up and all of a sudden just started hitting me," Baldwin said. "She was hitting me like a man who would beat someone with a bat."

While Gibson said that she knew Baldwin, he denied ever talking to her in the past, instead claiming he may have seen her at some point in the neighborhood. He insisted that he never made any type of sexual advance toward her young daughter and has not been in any trouble with the law since his release from prison in April 2002.

"I'm not like that anymore," Baldwin said. "I was at a low point in my life and I did wrong to kids and people, but nobody should have to go through something like that."

Baldwin's status as a Level 3 sex offender required law enforcement to circulate a flier featuring his name, image and conviction information throughout his new neighborhood. While he said he agrees with the notification process and took responsibility for his own crimes, he also suggested that law enforcement stop using fliers in place of Internet postings and going door-to-door to prevent attacks like Gibson's.

"It's right for people to know," he said, "but I think they should let people know in a different way."

The Gibson incident was the second time someone attacked him because they knew he was a sex offender, he said.

Det. Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, told ABC News that the office has received calls from people supportive of Gibson and offering to help pay her bond.

Troyer added that Gibson is "not a soccer mom in a minivan who lost her temper."

"She's been in jail before on assault and drug charges," Troyer said.

Troyer said he did not condone the beating Gibson gave Baldwin.

"If everybody went out and beat up a sex offender, we're going to have to stop doing notifications," he said.