Ex-Madera Co. Supervisor Baker Arrested

Fresno, CA Harry baker is a prominent Oakhurst businessman, and former county lawmaker. But investigators say he kept a dark secret for more than a year.

Action News Reporter Sontaya Rose is live in the newsroom with the disturbing allegations and strange acquaintances that make this case quite unusual.

Harry baker said he never acted inappropriately with the 13 year old. He says he's the victim of extortion. Police say their case is closed with his arrest.

In the town of Oakhurst, just about everyone either knows or knows of Harry Baker. He is the owner of Sierra Telephone Company and well known for generous contributions. The new swim complex at Yosemite High School even bears his name.

Word of his arrest spread fast and brought mixed reaction from residents in the foothill community.

Heather Thomas, Oakhurst resident said: "He offered me a job, gave me his business card told me to come in and apply at Sierra Tel. I politely declined after my grandma told me his nature and all that. Yeah it doesn't surprise me."

George Gardner, Oakhurst resident said: "Kind of surprised but things happen. That's his personal life as far as I'm concerned."

The 81 year old was arrested Monday afternoon but immediately posted a $50,000 dollar bond, never spending a minute in jail.

Rick Berman is representing baker. He says his client is the target of a group of gypsies, who set him up and secretly recorded the alleged incident on a hidden camera.

Rick Berman, Baker's Attorney said: "They got together and got this scheme to make the video of harry, produce the document and then use it to extort money. That's a major federal offense."

Fresno police say there's no question, after a year of investigative work; they feel they have a case of lewd acts with a child under 14.

David Newton, Fresno Police Department said: "Many hours went into this case. After we completed it, the district attorney's office spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the facts and after a thorough review was this arrest made

Police will not elaborate on exactly what baker is accused of doing at a Fresno motel with the 13 year old.

Berman claims the group is money hungry and has demanded and been paid more than $200,000 dollars in cash after the alleged incident.

"You know what harry baker said? He said this is like walking across an intersection, a truck running a red light and running you over and then suing you for damage to the truck."

Baker was a member of Madera's Board Of Supervisors for 12 years. His final term ended in 1988. He will be arraigned on October 14th.

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