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Archive for Friday, July 13, 2012

Rural Lawrence man, 50, pleads guilty to aggravated sexual battery

July 13, 2012

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A 50-year-old rural Lawrence man pleaded guilty Friday morning to aggravated sexual battery in connection with a March incident at a residence south of Lawrence.

Gary W. Baker admitted in court he touched a woman on March 24 with “intent to arouse (his) sexual desires” while the victim was “overcome by force.”

Baker initially faced a rape charge in the case.

Douglas County Sheriff’s investigators said in March they believed Baker had been drinking alcohol before the incident. Defense attorney John Kerns said Baker, who remains free on bond, has been under electronic monitoring and alcohol testing.

Attorneys said they believed Baker had no past criminal history and that he would likely fall within a “border box” under state sentencing guidelines, which means District Judge Michael Malone could decide whether to send him to prison or give him probation.

Sentencing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Aug. 10.

Prosecutor Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, said that in exchange for the plea prosecutors would recommend probation if he had no past criminal history.

“I will seriously consider that recommendation, but do you understand I’m not bound to follow it?” Malone asked Baker.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

Malone also said Baker could face three years on probation, if granted, and at least 25 years as a registered sexual offender.

McGowan told Malone that Baker was related to the victim. He is barred from having contact with her.

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