Mom charged in attempted baby sale to be evaluated

Pictured: Bridget Wismer and John Gavaghan

October 7, 2011 2:38:40 PM PDT
A Delaware woman charged with trying to sell her baby to a Philadelphia man for $15,000 must undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluations as part of pretrial conditions ordered by a judge on Friday.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on the pretrial conditions for Bridget Wismer shortly before Friday's hearing, which was scheduled after prosecutors filed an emergency motion seeking to increase bail for Wismer and impose other restrictions on her.

Defense attorneys also told the judge that Wismer, 33, was waiving her right to a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for Oct. 17 in return for prosecutors agreeing to turn over all police records and other evidence in their possession.

Wismer was arrested last week and released on $750 bail after being charged along with John Gavaghan with dealing in children and conspiracy.

While avoiding higher bail, Wismer was ordered not to have any contact with the baby or the 54-year-old Gavaghan. She must also wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

"We believe we've come to a resolution that will address any concerns the state has regarding supervision," deputy attorney general Phyllis Scully told Court of Common Pleas Judge Andrea Rocanelli.

With the waiver of the preliminary hearing, Rocanelli ordered that the case be transferred to Superior Court.

"Good luck, Ms. Wismer," the judge said at the conclusion of the hearing.

Wismer wiped away tears as she left the courtroom.

"Obviously, she's very emotional," said public defender Robert Goff.

While the case has received widespread publicity, Goff indicated that he likely will be making few other comments to the media.

As Goff was leaving the courtroom, a representative of the "Dr. Phil" television show offered him his business card, which Goff handed back.

"That's not going to happen," he said.

Wismer has said the criminal charges against her are the result of a misunderstanding by authorities of her relationship with Gavaghan. She said he has given her money to help pay for living expenses and offered to help care for her baby, who was born Aug. 31. She has said she was in a difficult living situation but didn't want to give the baby up for adoption or have an abortion.

Wismer said she and Gavaghan met with an attorney in Philadelphia before the baby was born to try to formalize an arrangement to share in the care of the child. She said the attorney told them to list Gavaghan on the birth certificate as the father, which they did, even though he is not the biological father.

Authorities claim Gavaghan was later seen on video surveillance at the Delaware Park casino with documents containing information regarding payments and balance due for the child.

The baby was at Gavaghan's house when he was arrested.

Wismer and Gavaghan are the only people charged in the case, even though authorities claim that Wismer's mother and sister approved of the alleged plot. Gavaghan's partner, a man named Antonio, also knew of the arrangement and attended a baby shower held in August to celebrate the boy's impending birth. He also has not been charged.

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