Man gets 10 years in sex assault

Jake T. Baker

JEFFERSON — A Madison man pleaded guilty Tuesday to raping an infant girl he babysat and photographing the act. He will serve 10 years in prison.

Jake T. Baker, 25, of 100 First St., Madison, was secretly indicted by the Ashtabula County grand jury in October on felony counts of rape, pandering obscenity involving a minor and gross sexual imposition. In a plea deal reached Tuesday, prosecutors dropped one of Baker’s pandering counts, as well as the imposition charge.

County Common Pleas Court Judge Marianne Sezon sentenced Baker to 10 years on the rape count — all mandatory — and seven years on the remaining pandering count, to run concurrent with the rape sentence.

County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci told the Star Beacon in October Baker was charged with caring for the 18-month-old girl while her mother and grandmother worked. The offenses reportedly took place last year between May 17 and June 1 at the mother’s Ashtabula home, according to the indictment.

The girl’s grandmother reportedly left Baker a spare cell phone to use in case of emergency. Iarocci said the cell phone was ultimately put away for at least two weeks, until the cell phone belonging to the girl’s mother failed and she needed a replacement.

The mother discovered “inappropriate photographs” of the sexual conduct saved to the phone and identified the child was hers.

If convicted on all counts, Baker faced life in prison. But Iarocci said prosecutors and the county Victims of Crime office worked “extensively” with the victim’s family on the plea deal and a lesser sentencing request.

“They expressed that they wanted a rape conviction but they were not supportive of any kind of life sentence,” he said. “Like every other case, victims and their families play a big role in determining the ultimate requested sentence. This case is no different.”

Upon release, Baker must remain registered as a Tier III sex offender — the highest classification — for the rest of his life.

Baker’s public defender, Susan Thomas, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

This Week's Circulars