Jurors on Monday convicted Gary Dale Baker of raping an elderly woman at her south Sacramento apartment in 2010 and 2012, but outside the courtroom, the victim’s son said judgment from a higher power awaits the former Sacramento police officer.
“This conviction from the jury is good and all, but he’s going to have to face God,” Joseph Ramos said, minutes after a Sacramento Superior Court jury found Baker guilty on nine of the 10 counts against him. “God is who he’s going to have to answer to.”
Baker, 52, will likely spend the rest of his life in prison first. He faced 10 counts in all, including allegations of rape, forcible oral copulation, assault with intent to commit rape and burglary. Jurors on Monday found him innocent only of one allegation of forcible oral copulation connected to a December 2012 incident.
He will be sentenced Aug. 17 before Judge Eugene Sawtelle.
Baker was a 22-year department veteran when his arrest on off-duty rape allegations in December 2012 stunned Sacramento and fellow officers. Baker was fired from the force that same month, his dismissal coming after a department investigation into the claimed attacks. Baker maintained that he and the woman engaged in consensual sex at her Florin Road-area senior living complex in what he described as a casual relationship. His attorney, Linda Parisi, questioned whether the woman ever used the word “rape” in communicating with family.
God is who he’s going to have to answer to.
Joseph Ramos, son of rape victim
But family members testified that the woman, barely a year removed from a severe stroke that took away much of her ability to communicate at the time of her first attack in November 2010, was able to use words, gestures, and pen and paper to describe her attacks and attacker. At the time of the first attack in 2010, Baker was 49 and the unidentified victim was 75.
Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday said in her closing argument last week that the woman “steadfastly asserted” that the sexual contact was not consensual and that she could still be understood though her ability to communicate was compromised.
“This was not consensual,” Holliday told jurors last week. “She did not want this contact.”
In a key defense argument at trial, Parisi argued that family members and investigators struggled to understand what the woman told them, forcing them to interpret events she described.
“People made interpretations. That is not enough for reasonable doubt,” Parisi said in her argument last week. “What you can do with words doesn’t make them reliable – it’s a guessing game.”
Parisi on Monday called the trial a “very unusual case” that came down to “an interpretation of words.”
Physical examinations and crime lab analysis found evidence of bodily fluids and trauma in the 2010 attack and two others in September and December 2012. But it wasn’t until a detective’s suggestion to post a hunting camera atop the woman’s apartment door in December 2012 that investigators spotted the images that revealed the woman’s attacker was one of their own.
Baker first denied to police that he had sex with the woman before the admission that led to his December 2012 arrest and the end of his law enforcement career.
“This was a very difficult time for the department, but today, the justice system spoke,” said Officer Justin Brown, a Sacramento police spokesman. Saying that “public trust was broken,” Brown added that although Baker’s acts were committed off-duty, “his actions reflected poorly on all law enforcement.”
On Monday, Baker, his hands clasped, looked straight ahead and fought to keep his composure as the polled jury tendered their verdict.
Baker, free on bail before trial, now waited as a pair of Sacramento County sheriff’s bailiffs posted behind him. He exchanged a few quiet words with defense counsel Parisi, handed her his car keys, then stood as he was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.