A woman with expressive aphasia who is the alleged victim in the rape prosecution of a former Sacramento police officer will not be allowed to testify against him at trial, a judge has ruled.
The woman, identified as "Jane Doe" in the criminal complaint against Gary Dale Baker, was 75 years old when her family contacted police in November 2010. A year earlier, she had suffered a stroke that damaged a portion of her brain that affects her ability to talk and write.
She struggled at a hearing in April 11 to respond to some questions such as the difference between a table and a chair. After another hearing two weeks later to determine her competency as a witness, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan ordered that the woman undergo a neurologist's examination to further assess whether she is able to take the witness stand at Baker's trial.
According to court documents, Meegan found "by virtue of (the witness's) condition," that she "is not capable of expressing herself in a manner as to be understood and that no reasonable accommodations exist to assist the witness."
As a result, "The court deemed Ms. Doe not qualified to testify as set forth by the law," her ruling said.
The judge sealed the doctor's report on the examination of the woman.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday declined to comment on Judge Meegan's ruling. It's not clear what impact the inability to the alleged victim to testify will have on the case. Investigators, however, also obtained DNA evidence from the woman's house that they say is a positive match to the 50-year-old Baker. They also have a videotape from a camera installed at the alleged victim's residence that shows Baker there, according to a cover sheet police submitted to the DA's Office.
The DA also has statements that Baker made to investigators when they interviewed him last Dec. 19, although what he said has not been disclosed.
Defense attorney Linda Parisi said she was "not surprised by the judge's decision in light of the witness's inability to communicate at the competency hearing. I did not think the recommendation or the determination of the evaluation would be anything other than that she was incompetent as a witness."
Parisi said she intends to discuss the status of the case with Holliday "and go forward from there."
The prosecutor, meanwhile, has since amended the complaint to add six new felony counts for a total of 12. Two of the new ones are under a rape statute charging that the act of sexual intercourse was accomplished by the perpetrator on a person who "is incapable, because of a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, of giving legal consent, and this is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act."
The other charges include allegations of rape, forcing and attempting to force oral sex, sexual battery and assault with intent to commit rape. Authorities say the sex charges result from three contacts Baker had with the woman on or around Nov. 25, 2010, and last Sept. 20 and Dec. 11.
Parisi said the new rape charges are "not supported by the evidence I know or the investigation we have done so far." According to the defense lawyer, the alleged victim "had suffered some deficits as a result of the stroke, but she was living independently, conducting her own affairs and appeared to be very interactive in her community and in her social life."
Parisi said "I'm not saying" that Baker and the woman had a consensual sexual relationship, only that "this was not a reclusive woman."
Parisi confirmed that Baker gave a statement to investigators and that "there may be" a pretrial motion on her part to suppress it.
Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.