The rape trial of former Sacramento police officer Gary Baker, accused of sexually attacking a stroke victim in her 70s over a three-year span, is expected to conclude Wednesday with attorneys’ closing arguments in Sacramento Superior Court.
Baker was a 22-year department veteran who patrolled south Sacramento before his 2012 arrest on suspicion of off-duty sexual attacks against the woman at her Florin Road-area senior apartment complex in 2010 and twice again in 2012. Baker, 49 when the first of the alleged attacks occurred, was dismissed from the force in December 2012 and now faces 10 counts in connection with the allegations including rape, forcible oral copulation, assault with intent to commit rape and burglary connected to the incidents in the trial before Judge Ernest Sawtelle.
Defense counsel Linda Parisi said Baker had sex with the woman, identified at trial as “Jane Doe,” as part of what Baker described as a casual, consensual relationship. Parisi, outside the jury’s presence Tuesday, hoped to bolster her argument, requesting that jurors be allowed to view a brief videotaped excerpt of Doe’s April 2013 Sacramento Superior Court competency hearing. Parisi said, in the video, unseen Tuesday, that Doe appears to wave to Baker and counsel before testifying. Parisi argued the snippet showed that Baker was comfortable around Baker.
“We have it on videotape. Instead of a trial by interpretation, she smiles and waves,” Parisi told Judge Sawtelle. Sawtelle rejected the argument, saying it was unclear whether or to whom Doe was waving.
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The rape allegations also led to a 2013 Sacramento Superior Court civil suit filed by Doe and family members against Baker, the city of Sacramento and others.
Doe’s family members in earlier testimony said Doe tearfully and emphatically described alleged attacks in November 2010 and again in September and December 2012. The first alleged attack came about a year after she was stricken by a severe stroke in 2009 at age 74 that robbed Doe of much of her ability to speak, forcing her to rely on written words and photographs to communicate.
Family members testified Doe called out “rape,” and “police,” and pantomimed acts she said she was forced to perform. Later, physical examinations and crime kit analysis revealed evidence of bodily fluids and trauma, forensics experts and medical professionals testified.
Parisi argued that Doe’s inability to clearly communicate left relatives and investigators to try to interpret what she meant. By December 2012, the time of the third alleged attack, Doe began to use more repetitive phrases and her writing had become less effective, Parisi said, leading to what she called Tuesday a “trial by hearsay, a trial by interpretation.”