Crime

North County man convicted of child molestation gets 16 years in prison

Donald R. Baker, 39, of Templeton was arrested Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, incest, possessing material depicting a minor under the age of 14 engaging in or simulating a sexual act, lewd or lascivious acts against children and an outstanding warrant. Original story »
Plea: Not guilty to all charges. What's next: Preliminary Hearing scheduled for 11/10/10.
Donald R. Baker, 39, of Templeton was arrested Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, incest, possessing material depicting a minor under the age of 14 engaging in or simulating a sexual act, lewd or lascivious acts against children and an outstanding warrant. Original story » Plea: Not guilty to all charges. What's next: Preliminary Hearing scheduled for 11/10/10.

A 40-year-old North County man was sentenced to 16 years in state prison Monday for the molestations of two children and possessing child pornography.

The sentencing was delayed several times because of defendant Donald Baker’s health problems; he has been battling cancer.

On Monday, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Fabiana Fede argued that the children, now ages 15 and 12, should be the focus of the case.

A letter written by one of the victims, a 12-year-old girl, said that she felt used “like a toy” by Baker, who was in a position of trust.

She said what made her most angry is that he had denied his actions throughout the San Luis Obispo Superior Court proceedings until Monday.

The girl said that she wished Baker had made better choices and that she deserved better treatment and care.

At the same time, she leaned toward leniency in sentencing for him, recommending a 10-year prison sentence.

Baker faced 10 to 20 years for his no-contest pleas to charges of molestation and possession of child pornography.

A representative from the victim-witness office of the county district attorney read the letter in court. A letter read by a 15-year-old boy was heard at a previous court proceeding.

Baker admitted committing the sex acts against the children for the first time on Monday in court.

“I accept, and do have remorse, for my acts,” Baker said.

Baker also said he has a “short life span” because of the cancer he is battling and requested 10 days of release before starting his prison sentence. He said he isn’t getting the proper dosage of medication he needs in the San Luis Obispo County Jail and wanted to get his finances in order.

Baker appeared in court looking haggard, with some of his hair having fallen out from chemotherapy treatment.

Judge Barry LaBarbera denied the request, saying Baker would get proper treatment in state prison and likely will be housed in the County Jail only for the next couple of days before his transfer.

Before the sentencing, Fede said Baker showed a “high degree of callousness” and groomed his victims in attempt to condition them to his wrongful acts. She added that the victims deserved to have their day in court at the sentencing.

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