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Archive for Friday, August 10, 2012

Prison time ordered in sexual battery case

August 10, 2012

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A Douglas County judge Friday broke from a plea agreement that recommended probation and ordered a 50-year-old rural Lawrence man to serve 32 months in prison for an aggravated sexual battery conviction involving a female family member.

District Judge Michael Malone criticized Gary W. Baker for focusing on alcohol as the root of the problem and for complaining about how he had lost family and friends over the incident.

“The actual victim has been completely ignored,” Malone said. “And all you are presenting is this woe-is-me type thing.”

Baker pleaded guilty in July to aggravated sexual battery and admitted to touching the woman on March 24 with “intent to arouse (his) sexual desires” while the victim was “overcome by force or fear.” He initially had been charged with rape.

The plea agreement asked for Baker to receive probation if he had no past criminal history and complied with recommendations of a sexual offender evaluation. But under the law it was ultimately up to Malone to choose probation or prison.

Prosecutor Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, said Friday in court she still recommended probation but that she had concerns the sex offender evaluation was not thorough enough. McGowan said she believed Baker seemed to focus more on treatment for alcohol abuse than for sexual abuse, and there was evidence “this is something that happened over a number of years with the same victim.”

At the beginning of the hearing, defense attorney John Kerns said his client was remorseful.

“I let alcohol take over my life. This is hard for me to talk because I lost my family,” Baker said. “I lost friends. I lost my life.”

Malone said Baker, once released from prison, would be required to register as a sex offender.

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