Trial date set for Harry Baker

Harry Baker, 86, has been ordered to to stand trial Aug. 25 for allegedly committing a lewd act with a child under the age of 14 in 2007.

Baker, a long time civic leader and philanthropist in Eastern Madera County, is president of Sierra Tel and a former Madera County supervisor.

A settlement hearing was held April 3, and after attorney’s could not agree on a settlement, a Fresno County Superior Court judge scheduled the trial to begin Aug. 25 in Department 72.

Baker was arrested in October 2009, after a Fresno police investigation that included a 20-minute video tape from a hidden camera of him with a girl in a Fresno hotel room. A judge ruled in May, 2012, the video was inadmissible as evidence because it was recorded without Baker’s knowledge.

Baker’s court dates have been rescheduled numerous times since his arrest due to a multitude of reasons, including bad health.

The alleged victim, testified at a preliminary hearing in May, 2012, after being given immunity from the prosecution for blackmail. The girl, identified as Jane Doe at the time, testified that Baker was a good friend to her and her mother.Jane Doe, now 20, said her cousin convinced her to hide a video camera in an alarm clock on a nightstand in Baker’s room and in return she would receive a car and money.

At her cousin’s direction, the girl asked Baker to check her breast for lumps. During her testimony, the girl said she went to Baker’s room “for the crime.”

During the same hearing, federal Department of Homeland Security special agent Mike Prado, testified that Baker and his attorney willingly gave a copy of the video to authorities, after he paid $250,000 to the girl’s family for copies of the recording.

Baker has stated he is innocent of the charge and his attorneys have stated he was the victim of a blackmail scheme by the girl’s parents.

Baker has been free on $50,000 bail since his arrest.