Sex offender’s poor health keeps him out of jail

Jesse Dale Baker, the 67-year-old Clifton man sentenced to probation this week after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact, has multiple health problems and sentencing him to jail would have created additional costs and burdens on the Mesa County Jail to care for him, the man who prosecuted him said.

Baker lives in a nursing home.

The burden on the jail was one consideration in seeking a plea agreement that led to probation, said Deputy District Attorney David Waite, who prosecuted Baker.

Even more important, Waite said, is the fact that “we got what we needed for the community — a heightened level of supervision as a sex offender and a protective order to keep him away from children.”

Baker suffers from multiple health problems, including cancer, and hearing and sight difficulties. Those led to repeated delays in the court proceedings. That combined with the fact that two of Baker’s victims have returned with their families to Mexico made prosecution more problematic.

Waite said it was a difficult decision not to seek jail time for a man who sexually assaulted children.

“We certainly don’t want to minimize what occurred,” he added. But the nature of the assaults most likely wouldn’t have resulted in a prison sentence, he added, and the probation requirement for Baker is very likely to be longer than a sentence to the county jail would be.


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