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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Baker receives 40-year sentence

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Cloverdale man was sentenced by Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley Thursday to 40 years for Class A felony child molesting.

Jeffrey L. Baker, 50, was ordered to spend 30 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections and 10 years on probation. He was also deemed a sexually violent predator, which means he will have to sign up for GPS monitoring for the rest of his life when he is released from prison.

Baker has been lodged at the Putnam County Jail since his arrest on Dec. 5. Judge Matthew Headley set his bond at $50,000 cash only.

Baker initially denied the allegations, but eventually admitted to police officers that they were true. Baker told officers "he had, on several occasions, committed sexual acts of a criminal nature (against the victim)," court records said.

Baker told police he had a problem, that he had been dealing with it for several years and that he needed help, court documents said.

Baker was set to go to trial May 13, but instead pled guilty to the charge on May 12 -- thus sparing his victim the trauma of testifying.

"She did not want to go to a jury trial and Mr. Baker saved her from that," Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said. "But (molesting incidents) happened a number of times. The harm was significant. She's got a battle on her hands."

Baker's victim, now 14, lives in Delphi with her father. The victim's father took the stand to read a statement before Headley handed down Baker's sentence.

"My daughter has had her childhood stolen from her," the victim's father said. "She will have to carry this with her for the rest of her life. She can never get back what you've stolen from her."

The victim's father, who choked up several times throughout his statement, said Baker took away the victim's self-esteem as he "terrorized and tortured" her. The victim's father said Baker "programmed" the victim not to cry or show feelings, and that he taunted her by "calling her a tattletale and threatening to hurt her."

The victim's father called Baker "the most selfish person I have ever met."

"I don't think you know what decent or normal is," he told Baker.

The victim's father said his daughter has been in weekly counseling since January, and that she will continue to go to sessions indefinitely.

"Every time we go, something else comes up," he said.

Baker's sister, Kimberly Miller, testified that she and her brother had been the victims of sexual abuse as children at the hands of their older sister. Baker was also molested by a family acquaintance, she said.

"He still has the emotional maturity of a 9-year-old boy," Miller said. "My brother has so desperately wanted love his entire life. He is led by brokenness."

Miller said she did "not take away in any way" from what her brother did to the victim, but that, in her estimation, Baker would benefit more from counseling than a long prison term.

Also taking the stand on Baker's behalf was his adult daughter, Erica Babb, who lived with Baker until she was 19.

Babb described Baker as "a good father."

"He was loving," she said. "He always wanted the best for me. He wanted better for me than he had while he was growing up."

Babb said she was blindsided by her father's arrest.

"I was very shocked," she said. "He's my father and I love him dearly. This is out of his character -- this is not the man I grew up with. He has a great heart."

Baker's attorney James Recker argued that his client had "come to an epiphany," which was why he chose to plead guilty instead of put the victim through a trial.

"Mr. Baker was a victim," Recker said. "So many times in these stories, that's exactly what happens. He's not getting a deal here ... this is an open plea. He took the first step toward doing the right thing."

Recker pointed out that Baker had no prior criminal history.

"This is an anomaly in his behavior," he said. "He was a good man who did something wrong, and when the time came he owned up to it."

Baker declined to make any statements in court. He was remanded back to the Putnam County Jail to await transfer to a DOC facility.

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If he is such a good person as his daughter and family say he is, then he did and does know the difference between right and wrong. What he did was very wrong and caused much damage. The damage is everlasting!

-- Posted by Questions on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 8:08 AM

If he was abused as a child, then he should have known the life-long ramifications that causes. Instead he decides to inflict that same life-long pain onto someone else. He has had MANY years to get counseling, which evidently he did not, so now the only solution is jail. He should be there FOREVER! Never to get out and inflict his perverted ways onto another innocent child! Lock'em up and throw away the key!

-- Posted by NotSoInnocent on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 11:24 AM

Rot in prison Baker!!!

-- Posted by 1stamendrights on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 11:26 PM

This is sick, just sick. I don't care if he has no prior criminal history, most aren't caught the first time. I will pray for his poor victim and I hope that there aren't anymore that we don't know about.

-- Posted by ProudWifeOfASoldier on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 1:28 PM

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