- Special Sections
- Berne Shopping News
A Monroeville man who was convicted of child molestation was arrested this week in Noble County, where he currently lives, after it was discovered he was working at South Adams High School as a volunteer basketball scout, according to court reports.
Paul David Baker, 48, volunteered for the South Adams High School girls basketball team during the summer of 2011 and during the 2011-12 basketball season, which violates the terms of being a registered sexually violent predator, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The sexual predator case against Baker began on June 1, 1999. He was arrested in 2000 in Noble County and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with eight years suspended, in December 2001. Baker was convicted of three counts of child molestation, according to court documents.
Baker had originally been charged with having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl at Wolf Lake Elementary School, in Noble County, and again in a vehicle parked on a rural road.
Baker now faces two charges of unlawful employment near children by a sexual predator, a class D felony, according to Adams County Prosector Chris Harvey. Baker is scheduled to stand trial in Adams County.
According to the probable cause report, on February 7, 2012, Adams County Sheriff's Deputy Andrews Guise received a complaint Baker was working as a volunteer for the South Adams High School girls basketball team, of which Baker's daughter was a member.
Guise spoke with South Adams Athletic Director Mike Pries, who is reportedly a friend of Baker's. Pries said in a sworn statement that Baker had not asked to help the team in any way, but that head coach Ryan Cunningham had asked Baker to "view a couple of game films of our opponents to help the coaching staff...and then give the report to our coaching staff."
The probable cause affidavit says Guise then spoke with Cunningham and SA junior varsity coach Becky Grimm, who was involved with the open gym sessions at the school. Cunningham said Baker never attended any team practices, while Grimm said Baker was present for some of the open gym sessions but did not assist in any way.
After speaking with school officials and coaches, Guise spoke to 12 members of the basketball team, with each girl saying Baker attended or participated in at least some open gym sessions and practices, and provided scouting reports for opposing teams, giving at least one of those reports to the team himself, according to the affidavit.
Speaking once again with Cunningham, Guise reported Cunningham said he had given Baker videos of opposing teams to watch so Baker could provide coaching suggestions to SA coaches. He also said Baker gave him those reports at the school. Cunningham reportedly told Guise that he "would be stupid not to talk with someone like him (Baker) for advice," according to the affidavit.
The report states that Cunningham also confirmed Baker had attended the Adams Central basketball game as a scout for SA, and that Baker may have gone onto the floor one time to show moves to the team during a practice.
On March 9, Guise spoke again with Pries, who stated he has known Baker both personally and professionally for 20 years and maintained Baker did not attend any team practices. Pries did confirm, however, that Baker did go to other schools to scout opposing teams and reported back to team coaches at South Adams, according to the affidavit.
Baker is still on probation for the Noble County conviction, and on February 15, Baker's probation officer conducted a home visit at his Allen County residence. At that time, Baker denied attending team practices, but did admit being at the school during practices, stocking the concession cooler and setting up athletic equipment at the school, according to the report.
Baker further admitted that he was present during at least some open gym sessions and that he would stay and help the girls during those sessions. Baker went on to say he had gone to Adams Central to scout their basketball team for the SA staff, and scouting reports for the AC vs. Blackford High School girls basketball game were found in his vehicle, the affidavit said.
After learning of Baker's arrest in Adams County, Noble County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Clouse filed a probation violation charge against him. Baker was taken to the Noble County jail on July 19 and was released later that day after posting a $50,000 bond.
Baker will have a pretrial hearing in Adams County on September 19 and is scheduled for a jury trial at 9 a.m. on January 7, 2013.