SACRAMENTO — A septuagenarian rape victim, who also suffered
from a recent stroke, will receive a $1.35 million settlement
originating from two incidents of rape carried out by a former
Sacramento police officer.
The award will be split between the city government and the owners
of the apartment complex that operated as a senior-living care center
where she lived and where the incidents occurred.
On Jan. 10, the city of Sacramento agreed
to the civil-case settlement regarding the actions of then-officer
Gary Dale Baker, who sexually assaulted the then-75-year-old woman
(“Jane Doe”) twice in 2010 and attempted to again in 2012,
following a stroke she had recently suffered in 2009. Baker was a
on Sacramento’s police force as a beat cop, patrolling the streets
and neighborhoods of the city for years.
On Thanksgiving in 2010, Doe relayed to her family what had
occurred. Her condition, called aphasia, limited her communication
abilities, but through photographs, scrawled notes and a medically
administered rape kit that found evidence the assault had occurred,
Doe and her family were able to convince the authorities that she had
been a victim. Unable to identify her attacker, the family installed
motion-detector cameras after a third attempt was made by Baker to
break into Doe’s apartment.
Chance Trimm, senior deputy attorney to the city, told The
Northern California Record that the former cop was fired
following his arrest in December 2012 after being identified
following a failed fourth attempt.
During the criminal trial, Baker’s attorney at the time, Linda
Parisi, had attempted
to portray the incidents as consensual sex between two adults in a
relationship. Baker was kept from testifying on the stand, but did
admit to the sexual encounters. In July 2015, Baker was sentenced
after being found guilty on nine out of 10 counts including rape,
forced oral copulation, assault with intent to commit rape and
burglary. He received 62 years to life.
A month later, Baker fired
his attorney and hired Donald Masuda. The new defense attorney
petitioned for a retrial, with Baker claiming
innocence and saying he had suffered poor counsel and was “undone”
by investigative errors. The request has since been denied.
During the civil trial, Erik Ratinoff, who served as Doe’s
attorney, told The Northern California Record that one
of the main goals of his case was to determine exactly when Baker
assaulted Doe — whether he was on-duty or off-duty.
“Because of a wrinkle in the law, employers and third parties
are not responsible for actions of an employee” Ratinoff said.
However, there “is an exception” that includes the actions of law
“If a police officer engages in misconduct while on duty, then
the police officer can held liable under California law” he said.
“When officers act in a manner where they are using their
government position in a way that gives them access or gives them
control and power over citizens and allows them to engage in criminal
misconduct, especially while on-duty…then the police department is
Ratinoff said a lot of time and energy went into determining if
the assaults occurred while Baker was executing his entrusted duties.
“Much of our case and the work that was done, and a ton of it
was done, was around this question of when Baker had sexual contact
with Ms. Doe. Was he on duty?” Ratinoff said.
“We were looking at all the evidence and we were able to piece
together enough evidence that would allow us to… have a jury decide
whether or not he was on duty,” he said. “Once we got to that
point, and we were ready to go to trial, there was a discussion that
occurred over weeks that resulted in” the settlement.
Trimm said Baker, who is now imprisoned in the High Desert State
Prison in Nevada, is in the process of appealing his conviction.