Trial resumes Monday in the rape trial of Gary Dale Baker, the former Sacramento police officer accused of sexually assaulting a septuagenarian stroke victim at her Sacramento apartment in 2010 and 2012.
Baker, free on bail, faces 10 counts connected to the alleged attacks, including allegations of rape, forcible oral copulation, assault with intent to commit rape and burglary, at trial before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest Sawtelle.
In police interviews that preceded his arrest, and at trial through his attorney, Baker said he shared a “casual relationship” with the woman – identified in court as “Jane Doe” – that included sex.
Baker was a veteran officer with 22 years on the Sacramento force when police arrested him in December 2012 on allegations of rape in a case that shocked and stunned a community and his fellow officers. Baker, then 49, was relieved of duty that month after a departmental investigation into alleged off-duty attacks against the woman at her apartment in a Florin Road-area senior living community in November 2010, and in September and December 2012.
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A Sacramento Superior Court jury last week heard Victoria Ramos testify that her grandmother, whose ability to speak was largely limited by the debilitating stroke she suffered in 2009, described emphatically in broken words and gestures the attacks she suffered, relying repeatedly on the words “police” and “rape.”
“My father heard the word ‘rape’” after the first of the alleged attacks in November 2010 when her grandmother was 75, Ramos testified. “He wanted me to talk to my grandmother, because what she was saying, he didn’t want to believe it. She said, ‘Police.’ She said, ‘It hurt.’ I remember her yelling the word ‘Rape.’”
Ramos described a similar scenario following the alleged 2012 sexual assault on her grandmother.
“It was an emotional time,” she said.
Also on the stand last week was Sutter Health medical professional Sheri Patrick, who examined the woman after the alleged attacks in 2010 and again in 2012. Patrick assembled the crime kits of swabs taken during the woman’s examinations and, under questioning by Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, counted the senior’s injuries “severe” and among the worst she had seen as an examiner.
Holliday showed images taken during the woman’s examinations that showed bruising and other injuries Patrick said were “consistent with penetrating genital trauma,” calling the injuries “very unusual” and “severe.”
Defense attorney Linda Parisi later challenged Patrick on the injuries’ cause, the examiner’s use on the stand of what Parisi called “charged words such as ‘sexual assault,’” and Patrick’s relationship with local law enforcement as a member of Sutter Health’s Bridging Evidence Assessment and Resources program. The BEAR team, as it is known, provides care for victims of abuse and neglect in Sacramento and Yolo counties. The team, Parisi said, works on contract with local law enforcement agencies.
Parisi suggested the injuries may have come during consensual sex, saying Patrick’s reports showed no evidence that she asked a post-menopausal Jane Doe whether she took hormone replacement or other treatment to ease sexual activity.
Parisi also questioned whether Patrick was able to understand the elderly woman. Her stroke-induced aphasia – a condition that leaves a person largely unable to speak or comprehend spoken or written words – has been a key component of Baker’s defense. Ramos and other family members said Jane Doe uses a combination of words, written word and photos to help her communicate. Parisi said earlier at trial that the woman’s aphasia required family members to try to interpret what she said and meant, and that they were often at a loss to do so.
Patrick said “it was not entirely impossible” to communicate with Jane Doe when she talked with her in 2012, but that communicating was “very difficult.”
Parisi also questioned Ramos’ credibility on the stand, recalling Ramos’ misdemeanor pleas to theft and forgery in 2002 and 2003.
Ramos looked coolly from the box and answered.
“I admitted to that charge,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t rape anybody.”