State Attorney Brian Haas announces the conviction of a 49-year-old Lakeland man for sexually assaulting a child.
Gary Lee Baker Jr. faces life in prison after he was convicted on charges of lewd molestation on a child under 12-years-old and sexual battery on a child under 12-years-old. Circuit Judge Kevin Abdoney is expected to schedule a sentencing date for Baker on Friday.
A 6-member jury took one hour to convict Baker.
Assistant State Attorney Monica Smith prosecuted the case for the State Attorney’s Office.
Baker was arrested by Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives in 2016. The victim, now 21, told detectives Baker began raping her when she was 8-years-old. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office then organized a controlled phone call with the victim and Baker.
Smith talked about the controlled phone call during closing arguments, describing a statement Baker made to the victim about her inability to prove anything if she went to the police. She told jurors the phone call pointed to Baker’s guilt.
“Is that a reasonable response from somebody who didn’t actually do what he’s being accused of? No, because he did do it.”