PORTLAND – A judge on Monday lifted travel restrictions on a North Yarmouth couple accused of kidnapping their pregnant daughter in a failed attempt to force her to have an out-of state abortion.
Nicholas Kampf, 54, and his wife Lola, 53, who pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, assault and terrorizing, are now permitted to leave the state but they’re still forbidden from having contact with their 19-year-old daughter, Katelyn.
The Kampfs are accused of tying up their daughter, forcing her into their car and heading for New York with the goal of making her have an abortion. They were arrested on Sept. 15 at a shopping center in Salem, N.H., after Katelyn fled and called police on a cell phone.
The Kampfs, who face up to 30 years in prison if they’re convicted of kidnapping, were originally charged in New Hampshire but those charges were dropped when Maine prosecutors elected to pursue the case. They’ve been free on $100,000 bail apiece since being charged in Cumberland County Superior Court.
On Monday, defense lawyer Thomas Hallett asked the judge to lift the travel restriction, allowing the Kampfs to visit Nicholas Kampf’s 88-year-old father at a nursing home-type facility in New York and for the couple to travel to their winter home in Florida.
Justice William Brodrick granted the request over the objection of Assistant District Attorney Robert “Bud” Ellis.
The Kampfs said little during the arraignment. Both answered “not guilty” when asked by the judge to enter their pleas. They did not respond to reporters’ questions as they walked arm-in-arm from the courthouse.
Hallett has said the family needs therapy, not a criminal prosecution. But District Attorney Stephanie Anderson has said it’s unrealistic for the Kampfs to hold out hope that the criminal charges would be dropped.
Katelyn Kampf’s lawyer, who attended the court session, told reporters that the protection order her client obtained against her parents is no longer in effect.
“We decided to just lift it because, frankly, the bail conditions cover everything that the protection order covered. It seemed duplicative,” Sarah Churchill said.
While acknowledging the turmoil within the family, Churchill declined to comment on Katelyn’s feelings, saying “she would like to keep that part of her life private for the time being.”
Churchill offered no indication that her client might come to see the case as a family matter to be dealt with outside the criminal justice system.
“Katelyn felt a crime was committed, she reported it to police and now the process has taken hold and ultimately that case will have to be resolved in this courthouse,” she said.
The Kampfs learned during a phone call the day before the incident that their daughter was pregnant, Hallett has said. The parents had packed their car with belongings for a trip to Florida, but their plans changed because of the pregnancy.
But the defense contends there was no kidnapping and that the case is far different from the way it has been portrayed in the media.
The man who impregnated Katelyn Kampf, a self-styled hiphop artist who has performed in the Portland area, is serving a six-month sentence for theft at the Androscoggin County Jail and has previous felony convictions for burglary and receiving stolen property.
Hallett said Monday that the Kampfs were holding up reasonably well, considering the circumstances.
“It’s a terrible strain, but they’re both trying hard to stay positive,” he said. “That’s the anchor that drags, that their daughter is out there in a difficult situation and they’re helpless.”
Hallett estimated that a trial would take place in nine months to a year, while Ellis said it could be sooner.