Ex-Twin Cities hospital official doesn’t contest sex charges

A former Twin Cities Community Hospital employee entered a plea of no contest Wednesday to charges of child molestation and possessing child pornography.

Donald Robert Baker, 40, entered his plea to five felony charges before Judge Barry LaBarbera in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Baker is the former director of critical care at Twin Cities. The sex crimes from 2007 to 2010 involved two children — who are now ages 11 and 15 — in addition to the offense of possessing child porn.

The agreement between Deputy District Attorney Fabiana Fede and defense attorney David Fisher is that Baker will face from 10 to 20 years in state prison. A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.

Fisher said outside court that his client has stage 4 lung cancer — meaning the cancer has spread from the lungs to other parts of the body.

The prosecution was given time this week to check out Baker’s claim of illness.

On Wednesday, Fede announced in court that she was willing to accept the conditions of the plea agreement.The county Probation Department will give a sentencing recommendation, and LaBarbera will have the final say on how many years behind bars Baker will receive at his sentencing.

The judge delayed the sentencing until next year to allow Baker to undergo chemotherapy treatments. LaBarbera said chemotherapy typically takes six to eight weeks.

But he scheduled a hearing for Jan. 18 to allow statements in court from victims and others close to the children. The sentencing likely will take place in February or March.

Baker pleaded no contest to three counts of lewd acts against a child, sexual penetration of a child and possession of child porn.

As part of the plea agreement, Baker must register as a sex offender.

The agreement prevents the children from testifying in open court about the allegations. Neither child has testified thus far in the criminal proceedings.