A former Fallston psychologist, who sexually abused three girls under his care, will serve 18 months in jail, rather than the six years he agreed to as part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors in August.
Despite calling it a “sad and distressing case,” retired Harford County Circuit Judge Maurice Baldwin Monday sharply modified the sentence David Wayne Schrumpf, 56, of the 4400 block of Prospect Road in Whiteford, from what Schrumpf had agreed to when he entered an Alford plea, which is not an admission of guilt, but rather an acknowledgment that the state had enough evidence to get a conviction. Baldwin was also the judge who accepted that earlier plea.
Claiming Schrumpf was diagnosed a month ago with an irregular heartbeat with a recommended drug treatment that needs regular monitoring he could not get in the Department of Corrections, Richard Karceski, Schrumpf’s Towson-based lawyer, asked Baldwin to consider sentencing Schrumpf to the serve the maximum amount of time allowed at a detention center, 18 months, followed by home confinement then probation.
“The condition needs to be very closely monitored” or Schrumpf could die, Karceski said.
In issuing his sentence, Baldwin agreed to have Schrumpf serve 18 months at the Harford County Detention Center, followed by one year of home confinement.
Schrumpf will be on probation for five years, a period that will begin following his release from jail and will include the year of home confinement. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
“I’m disappointed that the judge did not see fit to give him the sentence we were seeking because I feel that it was the appropriate sentence,” Diane Adkins Tobin, the assistant state’s attorney who prosecuted the case, said Tuesday, the day after Schrumpf was sentenced in Harford Circuit Court. However, I am satisfied that law enforcement and the prosecution did everything in our power to make sure that he will never have another opportunity to prey upon our vulnerable children.”
Saying Schrumpf has lost many things, including his reputation and license, Tobin said: “he lost his stream of potential victims coming to his office.”
“So in the end, stopping him was very important and that is what we accomplished,” Tobin added.
Schrumpf was charged in December 2010 with 10 counts of third-degree sex offense and 10 counts of sex abuse of a minor in connection with abuse of a 7-year-old and 10-year-old girl who were being treated by Schrumpf at his office in the 2300 block of Belair Road in Fallston.
According to the testimony, the younger girl said Schrumpf abused her during her five most recent visits. When the mom questioned her older daughter, she also said Schrumpf touched her inappropriately. When police arrested Schrumpf in connection with the alleged abuse, they observed child pornography on his home computer, which he ran to try and turn off, according to police and prosecutors.
The third girl, who was 8, came forward after her parents heard of the abuse of the sisters, Tobin said. The parents questioned their daughter, who admitted Schrumpf had abused her. He was indicted in that case in April.
In August, Schrumpf and prosecutors reached an agreement under which Schrumpf would enter an Alford plea, technically a plea of guilt, to one count of child sex abuse and two counts of second-degree assault in the two cases in which he allegedly was abusing the two sisters and the third girl.
Schrumpf, who still maintains he never touched any of the girls inappropriately, said in court Monday that he is seeking counseling for his addiction to child pornography.
Parents: Three girls suffering
All three girls were in the courtroom Monday to address Baldwin and to urge him to give Schrumpf the maximum sentence that Schrumpf, prosecutors and the judge had agreed to previously.
As she came in, the youngest of the three cried and turned away, then left the courtroom, returning later while her mother read a statement her daughter had written.
The state was asking that Schrumpf be sentenced to 25 years, with all but six years suspended. He betrayed the trust the community put in him, as well as the trust the girls’ families put in him, Tobin said during the sentencing hearing.
“He took advantage of the situation of a vulnerable child and used these children for his own sexual purpose,” the prosecutor said. “I hate to use the word revolting, but it’s the only thing I can think of at this moment.”
The girls told Baldwin of the impact the abuse has had on them. The oldest girl said she became furious with her family, fought with her sister, threatened suicide and started doing drugs.
“I think this started tearing my family apart,” the oldest girl said. “I’d like him to be locked away for as long as possible and as far away from me as possible.”
Her mother said her older daughter would have emotional outbursts of screaming, crying and guttural noises, and she’s suicidal because of “how bad he hurt her.”
Both girls went from being outgoing and popular to introverted and quiet, the mother said. “My intelligent, sweet little girls are suffering emotionally and physically.”
Her older daughter, she said, started seeing Schrumpf because she was being bullied at school, and her parents wanted her to get help learning to stand up for herself. They thought their younger daughter could benefit from counseling.
Over the 18 months they saw Schrumpf, the mother said, both girls became violent like never before, they bickered, back talked and had trouble sleeping.
Her older daughter feels guilty, like she let down her little sister because she didn’t say anything about the abuse, the mother continued.
“My younger daughter doesn’t want to deal with it, she wants to bury it,” she told the court. “We trusted him with the well-being of our children and he harmed them to such a horrible extent.”
The full effects of the abuse won’t be known for a long time, the parents said. The Aegis is not disclosing the names of the girls, or members of their families, because the girls were victims of sex crimes.
“We wonder when, where and if the other shoe is going to drop,” the father of the third girl told the court.
His daughter has been uncharacteristically abusive toward her siblings and “morphed into a very sad little girl,” the father continued. “She still has obsessive compulsive behavior, she’s still withdrawn from her friends. She’s obviously suffered.”
The girl’s mother said she thought she was doing what was best for her daughter, getting her help she needed, when “unwittingly we fed her to a monster every week,” she said.
Her daughter, too, has threatened to kill herself, the mother continued, saying the girl hovers around her family and is afraid to be separated from them. She’s anxious over simple tasks or changes to her routine.
“We had no idea our baby was being touched, abused,” the mother said. “We were throwing our baby to a wolf every week … and he destroyed the innocence of our child.”
Schrumpf is well-known in the community, highly respected and a good man, according to statements from friends and colleagues who testified on his behalf Monday.
James Kilgalen, a licensed clerical social worker in Fallston, told Baldwin he had known Schrumpf since 1988, and their professional relationship developed into a social one.
“I know him to be a very fine, very caring person who is supportive of me,” Kilgalen told the judge, adding Schrumpf helped him work through some things, “and I appreciate it.”
James Haas, of Aberdeen, told the court he has known Schrumpf for 22 years, dating to a time they worked together with a student in Harford County Public Schools. Since then, he’s been a good friend, “a great professional person,” who has helped Haas with difficult students and through his own family problems, Haas.
“He’s always been an excellent friend,” Haas, the husband of the late Harford County Public Schools superintendent, Jacqueline Haas, told Baldwin.
Dr. Willard Amoss, of Fallston, said he has had a suite in the same building as Schrumpf for the last 20 years.
“David Schrumpf is a very kind, compassionate psychologist who seems to have compassion and humility,” Schrumpf told Baldwin.
‘Put this all behind you’
Schrumpf, still saying he never inappropriately touched any of the three girls, told Baldwin he hopes for a life in the future he can “still help others in a meaningful way” despite giving up his license to practice psychology.
“I’ve dedicated the last 35 years of my life to helping kids, easing them, making their lives productive,” he said. “I can’t express how disappointed I am in myself for what happened.”
The girls came to him willingly, he said, and left his office often in better moods than when they came in.
He entered the Alford plea, he said, because he couldn’t produce enough evidence that would come close to the emotional and powerful testimony of the girls, who won’t have to go through a trial or media coverage, he told Baldwin.
He turned to the girls and their families and said: “I wish you the strength to carry on, to move forward from here, to let go when you’re ready and put this all behind you.”
Schrumpf also told Baldwin he’s receiving treatment, and has learned things about himself he wishes he’d known longer, and he’s committed to continuing his treatment “as long as it takes.”
Schrumpf, who has voluntarily surrendered his license, can no longer practice in the only profession he’s known, what he’s wanted to do since he was a child, he told Baldwin.
His reputation is ruined; he can’t pay his child’s college tuition, he said.
“I dread going out in public, as does my family,” he said. “My family and I will continue to suffer for years to come.”
He said he wants to continue to strengthen and heal himself, and not give up on being able to contribute in a “meaningful” way.
“The next chapter is up to you, your honor,” he said.
Baldwin agreed to the suggestion by the defense lawyer, Karceski, sentencing Schrumpf to time at the Harford County Detention Center and home confinement rather than the Division of Corrections.
Schrumpf has two weeks to report to the detention center to begin his sentence, another disappointment for Tobin.
“The children don’t understand he had to report later. It would have been good for them to see him going off with police. It would have given them a sense of closure, a sense of safety. I think the families needed to see that,” Tobin said Tuesday.
Regardless, she said, because the girls and their parents came forward, Schrumpf won’t be able to abuse any more children. “The more important part of this is our reactin to our children telling [us of abuse]. We need to believe our children when they tell us [about abuse] and act appropriately so it doesn’t happen to another child,” Tobin said. “That is what these parents did in this case. The parents stopped him by coming forward. I’m very comfortable knowing he’s not out with a steady stream of citizens coming to his office, which is what he had for all those years.”