Prosecution gains ground in Harry Baker molestation case
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The girl who says a former Madera County supervisor molested her also admits it was a setup and yet the prosecution gained ground in its case against Harry Baker Tuesday.
Just the fact that the alleged victim was on the witness stand was a victory for the prosecution.
She had pleaded the Fifth Amendment and stopped talking Monday.
Prosecutors may also get to use a video of the incident against Baker. He and his attorney both gave police copies of the incident that happened inside a Fresno hotel room.
Because of that, a judge might allow prosecutors to use it in court, even though he didn't know the incident was being recorded.
She was just 13 when the teenager known in court as Jane Doe says Baker touched her inappropriately.
We're not showing her face because she's the alleged victim of a sex crime.
But she admits family members put her up to it and secretly recorded the encounter.
"She did what she had to with the recorder, then at the end of that time she told me just to go in the room, all that," Jane Doe said. "I don't want to have to explain it over and over and over again because it really damaged me a lot for two years."
Baker paid the girl's family members about $250,000 to keep the video from going public.
But he eventually got fed up and went to authorities with a copy of the video and a complaint of extortion.
The alleged blackmail may have stopped, but Baker suddenly found himself facing criminal charges.
His defense attorney, Rick Berman, says the girl lured Baker into the contact by asking him to check for lumps on certain body parts.
"Is it just a mundane medical conversation or is it sex talk?" an Action News reporter asked Berman.
"There's no sex in this case," Berman replied. "There's no sex. There's no intent to have sex."
The girl got immunity from prosecutors to testify about what happened, but not from Berman, who went hard after her in a contentious hearing.
"Can you try to remember what you said to detective Wiens?" he insisted to her after asking a series of questions about their hallway conversation the day before.
"Your Honor, I'm going to object," said prosecutor Becky Gong. "He's beginning to badger the witness."
"Yes, thank you," Jane Doe said.
"I'm not the one not answering questions," Berman said as he laughed.
"But you are the one that's starting to badger the witness," said Judge M. Bruce Smith.
The judge says there's no doubt the teenaged girl is a victim, but whether a crime was committed by Baker, or her family members, or both is still to be determined.
The preliminary hearing should wrap up Wednesday with the judge deciding whether there's enough evidence for Baker to stand trial.
Action News has gotten a lot of questions on Facebook about criminal charges against the alleged victim's family for putting her in a position to be molested.
Investigators tell us the U.S. Attorney's office refused to file charges against them.
fresno, fresno county, fresno downtown, crimetracker, sex crimes, local, corin hoggard
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