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State College Man Charged with Child Rape

by on June 14, 2019 3:30 PM

A 51-year-old State College man was arrested on Friday for the alleged rape of a child.

Jackson C. Baker is charged with felony counts of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors, and a first-degree misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.

The age and sex of the child involved were redacted from a criminal complaint, but WJAC and WTAJ reported the alleged victim is a 1-year-old girl.

State College police said they found Baker, who has worked as a youth pastor, previously had a number of encounters with law enforcement and Children and Youth Services in multiple states.

According to the criminal complaint, State College police spoke to an 18-year-old woman who told a school counselor that her father was a pedophile. The woman said that on the night of Jan. 19, a male witness told her he saw Baker exposing himself and assaulting a child in a basement.

She allegedly said that Baker had been possessive of the child and that she had witnessed him bathing naked with the girl on two occasions in August and December 2018. She also told police about Baker being accused of comparing juvenile female breasts and being investigated by Children and Youth Services in another state.

In an interview with police, the male witness said that on Jan. 19 he went to the basement and saw Baker sexually assaulting the child, according to the complaint. He said he went up to Baker and slapped his arm and that Baker quickly put his penis back in his pants. A few hours later he went into Baker's bedroom to confront him and told him "what happens in the dark will come to light."

Police interviewed Baker on March 14 and he denied being in the basement with the child on the night of the alleged assault or ever assaulting the child, according to the complaint. He also said he did not have any confrontation with the witness that night.

He allegedly admitted he had showered with the child when she was younger and could not hold her head up but that ended a year earlier.

Baker said that his work as a youth pastor and arborist has led him to move many times over the past 20 years. He denied ever being investigated by CYS, and said he had only been arrested when he was young for theft and disorderly conduct.

In a second interview on March 21, Baker allegedly divulged more information about his past, including arrests as an adult for assault with a deadly weapon, arson, theft and grand theft auto. According to the complaint, he admitted to having contact with CYS in Maryland 13 times in one year, claiming his mother had fabricated allegations of neglect. He also allegedly admitted to a contact with CYS in Ohio, when he said he caught a pastor embezzling money from a church, and another CYS contact in Pennsylvania.

Police said Baker changed his story and admitted to bathing nude with the child as recently as December 2018. He also allegedly admitted to being in the basement to do laundry and that he changed the child's diaper while he was there, but he again denied any sexual contact with the child or a confrontation with the witness.

Another witness who was in the bedroom with Baker allegedly told police she did remember the witness coming in and yelling at Jackson and saying something about "being in the dark will be in the light."

Through an investigation, a detective confirmed several police and CYS contacts with Baker. According to the complaint, a 2004 report in Ohio alleged Baker had taken a child off a school bus without the mother's permission. Another was about Baker allegedly taking photos of young boys in their underwear during a Royal Rangers youth ministry campout. A third alleged Baker physically abused young boys while leading the Royal Rangers during a camping trip. A fourth report alleged neglect by Baker of his own children.

Police also found a statement written by members of a church with which Baker was associated regarding issues with Baker allegedly stealing money and setting up fundraisers without their knowledge. From reports and statements by members of churches where Baker was involved, police said they found he never had any credentials to be a youth pastor and that church members described him as being deceptive, authoritative and having been investigated for allegations of fraud and theft.

A detective also found two reports in Florida from 2006 and 2007 and another from Oklahoma in 2009, where Baker was investigated and charged with the alleged assault of two juvenile females and later charged with intimidating a witness in the case.

A 2012 report in Indiana alleged that Baker made comments to juvenile females about their breasts.

Baker was arraigned on Friday afternoon by District Judge Thomas Jordan. He was unable to post $200,000 bail and is being held at the Centre County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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