Templeton man accused of child molestation to go to trial

The prosecution presented sufficient evidence against a 39-year-old Templeton man accused of child molestation to continue to trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Donald Baker, who was until recently Twin Cities Community Hospital's director of critical care, was in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on eight charges — which include lewd acts against a child and possession of child pornography.

Baker has pleaded not guilty to the allegations including sexual crimes against a female relative who is a minor.

The girl is not being identified by The Tribune because she is the alleged victim of a sex crime.

County sheriff’s detective Sonja O’Donohoe was the only witness to testify at the afternoon hearing.

O’Donohoe said that the alleged victim told investigators about a three-year pattern of sexual abuse committed by Baker.

The acts continued until Sept. 24 or 25 of this year and would typically take place on “random Friday or Saturday nights,” O’Donohoe testified that the girl told investigators.

According to O’Donohoe, the girl said Baker told her that the acts should remain a secret, and that her mother wouldn’t understand if she found out.

The detective also said that the alleged victim told investigators that Baker would show her pornography while committing lewd acts on her. His computer also possessed images that included child pornography and bestiality, O’Donohoe testified.

After less than an hour of testimony, Judge Barry LaBarbera ruled that sufficient evidence had been presented to proceed to trial.

During the hearing, Baker’s attorney, David Fisher, asked O’Donohoe if Baker had been cooperative with the investigation, and she responded that he had during an initial police interview.

Fisher said after the hearing that his client is innocent until proven guilty, and that the allegations have been “life-changing and traumatizing” for his client.

Baker is scheduled to appear in LaBarbera’s court again for further arraignment on Dec. 1, when he’s expected to enter a new plea to the charges.